Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31st already

And I have not put up my year end post :( 
I know it's unlike me. But I am not one of them to let the year past without the year end post. So here goes. 

The year has been a breeze. Like all others before it, it seems to have passed so quickly. But I would not say it was without its fair share of ups and downs. The winter had me attending a very big interview. It was literally a dream job in a very big corporation. I had restarted my career in UK with some compromise. This was my chance of striking equal ground. I prepped hard, I gave it my best. And I bagged an offer. Till visa and restrictions and long term availability started playing spoil sport in actualisation of the offer. It was  long drawn anticipation game. As plan B, I had managed to get another offer. But my heart was set on the first one. I would love having it because it was a bigger firm, was closer to home and the best bargain was it had flexible working. Real flexible working! I was pinning my hopes on it, and finally exactly a month before the end of my term in my first job in the UK, the letter of offer of employment reached me.

30th April, 2014, I started in my 5th job. I started working in the same firm the husband works in ! Albeit as his client *blushes*. Yes, I had a 'return of the prodigal daughter' feeling. I had worked the starting years of my life in a firm that I don't like at all( Hate is a very strong word :P) I did not like the way it treated me, I did not like it treats any body, I did not like the work culture. K is still with the firm as are many of my friends. Finally I was working with that very firm, although in a very different role. It was like the wildest dreams come true in a very very convoluted way ! When K used to work at this place, I used to rue the fact that the office was so close to the town centre. They had good eating joints to catch a quick bite in lunch time. You could step out for anything from grocery shopping to window shopping. The location was so prime and vibrant. Unlike mine. I used to think out loud - Wish I get a chance of working in a place like this! Be careful what you wish for .... :S For mine had come true. Love and spring was in the air! 

It was very different couple of weeks, walking to work with K, being on the same floor as him *Shy* Yep - I used to blush if I met him in the coffee zone. Urgh yeah silly me. We used to have our lunches together. God never gave us the chance of being in the same place when we were dating, and now after a kid, we get to sneakily hold hands at lunch time. Doh! How low dramatic can our lives be! But it was 15 minutes of peace we had without a toddler crawling on our shoulders. Some of K's errrr... 'our' colleagues gave us the 'look' But hey who cares :P For make hay when the sun shines. Cos on this island, it aint shining for long :P 

Soon K had to opt for another role in another city with a change in his designation. At long last, he received his long over due promotion. He was third time lucky! Well, when he missed the first 2 nominations, it did lead to some nervousness.Being the ever oh so eternal optimist, I assured him, he would ultimately make it to the next level. In the grand scheme of things, when he retired, he would not even remember whether he jumped the grade in year 8 or year 10 of his career. As long as he was learning something, the job was worth doing. Uh well, that was my mantra :P K believed, like Lincoln, he would try till he succeeded :D To each their own :D 

Coming back to the travel to another city part of the story.  It was a 40 minutes train ride away. Luckily I had mommy here! It was simply amazing having her over in summer. I was a bit worried for my sister having to be alone with Papa (alone with Papa - is that even correct? But I guess you get the drift :)  ) My sis was also in a bit of a rut with respect to her work life. Luckily she was able to make a move! It was simply amazing! 

With Mummy, the home was warmer, cleaner and Chiyaa was definitely better fed. It was so much easier with many of the work at home accomplished without lifting  a finger. And not to forget, the lazy strolls in the evening with her, the endless chatting - even window shopping held a bit of allure for a change :) Things got better when Papa came over for 3 weeks. We had the most amazing time at Belfast. I wished time to just stay still and we remain in those idyllic days. If wishes were horses..... Papa had to go back. And the months rolled on, till Diwali was at our door step. It was a fantastic Diwali with Mummy. Though, 2 days later, we had to say goodbye to her too.  With autumn setting in and mommy going away,things were looking a bit dismal. That is life is nt it?

We got on with the maddening pace of things. I got in touch with a few old pals. Dear Ashu made a progress in her career. Roomie dear also moved on with a job. A close relative of ours who had endured quite a lot of struggles in her youth, had been diagnosed with cancer. She has a very young family. Things are looking promising for her too!  And well, things were happening. 

As we stand on the threshold of yet another new year, I know there are so many milestones we wish to achieve. There are many milestones which the future has designed for us to achieve. Here is hoping that we have the courage and spirit to work for them and the courage and spirit to face not accomplishing some of them. Here is hoping that the heart is content but the mind is challenged and the body is resilient. Here is hoping for the circle of love of near and dear ones and strength to do just that extra bit for ourselves and for others.

Here is wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Main apni favourite hoon :D


I think Kareena Kapoor's character spoke for a lot of women like me when she said 'Main apni favourite hoon' in Jab we met

Well, I completed yet another revolution around the sun last week. Now immaterial of whether anyone else celebrates it or not, I make it a definite point to celebrate my own birthday. I take the day off. For that matter, I take the day off for anyone's birthday in the family. And definitely on my birthday. I would not want to step out of the house and especially into work and let any untoward incident spoil my mood ;) So as usual it was a good nice holiday. For that matter as a good run up to my birthday, we had our office Christmas lunch a day before. So there was not a lot of work and people were generally cheerful and relaxed. A perfect prelude to my favourite day ;) 

After gathering the wishes from mil, it was time to drop the kid at day care and head off for some good ol pampering. Well nothing out of the world, just a trip to the hairdresser to give the mop on my head some shape. I got a cut and marched on feeling real good. What is a home without a lot of chores? So of course there were the boring tasks of drying the clothes, ironing some and setting the house in order. I then scooted to the gym for the much needed workout. It had been nearly 2 weeks since I had gotten anywhere near any sort of workout. Yay! Love the endorphins that kick in after a work out. My birthday also happens to be anniversary of dear Ashu. We got some time for the much needed chat. Boy does it feel good chattering non sense with people who know you too well :) 

I had my eyes on getting Chiyaa back from day care early. I had no intention of doing any sort of cooking :P So dinner was Indian take away. Much to our disappointment, nothing tasted good. The naans, the chicken tikka masala, the schezwan fried rice - everything lacked the oomph. In my craving for chocolate cheese cake, I had gone over board and ordered a massive portion with ice - cream. And was I heart broken with each bite :'( Why God why? Anyhoo, what has been done cannot be undone. So the only way was forward. K promised an amazing treat the next day in a restaurant we all love. By we all, I meant Chiyaa too :) Somehow she loves Nando's. She may have a slow start but ultimately she warms up and gets to enjoy her meal. At most other places its a mad scramble. Post lunch, we went ahead with some shopping of winter wear for the kitten. It was good fun since the kitten walked along and totally participated in the activity :D Once home, it was a good long marathon of Modern Family

Sunday was a lazy day where I spent some time in the kitchen :P The day was pretty quiet but the evening became a bit rough when  I realised K was spending a bit too much time playing Words with Friends. So we had a Farmville  kinda situation again. When are we ever going to learn? So we signed on a treaty that we would have a phone curfew once we are back home. We would not check our smart phones time and again, but rather spend it gainfully with the other half. Been 4 days since the pact was signed, and no one has breached it yet. World Peace \m/

Since I had spent 3 days lazying around the house, on Monday (which I had taken as a holiday! Yay! Long birthday weekend :D I know its amazing that my birthday is in December and I get to utilize my leaves :D :D )it all came crashing down. I had a lot of chores to catch up on. Plus during our Christmas lunch, I tasted parsnip soup. And a whole new world had been opened for me. There were times in night, I woke up to the taste of the creamy delicious soup!! I HAD to MAKE IT. And I did! And it was deliriously delicious!!!! So much so, K a total non-soup person loved it. And his exact whatsapp message after having it for lunch today was 'Hats off to you!' Who would have thought that!!! Parsnips - you are my new found love :D 

In Chiyaa's day care, they encourage each child to give a Christmas card to the other kids. It is totally voluntary, but its a good exercise. I really liked the thought. But I took it one step further. I thought it might be a good idea to get her to make all the cards. Well begun and half done :( Once we got her started, she wanted to take it to a whole new messy level! So I spent a fair amount of time on Monday churning through the cards. Hey there are 31 kids in her room (I think just because they are all at knee height, they do not seem that many :S ) And again going the extra mile, I made 4 cards for the carers in her room. Writing To So and so, Merry Christmas  From V and  To So and so on the envelopes only took an hour! I had under estimated. But I 'think' I delivered it OK at the end of the it (The kids apparently lovedddddd the cards because they were so shiny!! ) 

The trip to the gym was not to be missed, since it might be my last in the a long time :D 
Kiddo back from day care and it was preps for the following day. The end of a glorious long weekend celebrating me, myself. I would tend to feel sad for all of it getting over. Thankfully Christmas is round the corner :) 

The cards we made 





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bad mother II

I never thought I would get to write a version 2 of this topic. But history repeats. And today I was not only bad I was horrible. 

Lately we are trying to make Chiyaa walk rather than relying on the push chair. She does not like it all the time. But it's an effort on our part to acclimatise her. Since the nursery is very close by for starters we drop and come home walking. 

They are good days and there are bad. Some days she is really cooperative and walks along enjoying the sights of the pigeons and dogs being brought out for a walk. Other days she cries, asks to be picked up or stands at one place. 

Today while returning she didn't want to walk at all. She didn't want to be picked up either. She just kept dragging her feet and being difficult. I somehow brought her till our apartment complex. Once inside we need to take the lift to the second floor. We reached the second floor. She refused to come out of the lift. To make her come outside I stepped out of the lift  and said 'OK I am going' and turned my back to her. In a split second the doors of the lift closed with my baby inside. My heart skipped a beat. I pushed the button immediately to make the lift doors open. They did not. I panicked and ran to the ground floor. I pressed the lift buttons. The lift came down and opened. But Chiyaa was not inside. Luckily just then K reached. It was a pure stroke of luck that he was an hour early. I asked him to take the steps while I took the lift. I planned to stop at each floor and look for her. The first stop I made was at the second floor. K was there too by the steps and we both could hear her cry. She was in some floor above us and had stepped out of the lift. 

Second stroke of luck,I thought I saw her press the button for 8th floor as soon as we had entered the lift. She had this silly habit of trying to press all the buttons on switch board. I hit the button to the eighth floor and as soon as I  stepped out  I saw her crying hysterically for mummy. 

I took her into my arms and came running down to our home. I cannot imagine how scared she must have felt. She spent the whole evening crying. She did not eat much, she just kept remembering the horrible incident and crying bitterly. In a moment I had turned a happy smiling girl into a petrified child. I dare not imagine anything untoward which could have happened.  I am so guilt ridden. I feel horrible. I will never forget what I did. I will never forgive myself for what I did. I hope she does one day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

weSurvive V

We are still in the dress rehearsal state. Mommy reached home safely on Tuesday. From Thursday I rejoined work after my 3 day vacation and kitty started going to day care with me. 

She woke all refreshed in the morning. She was quite eager to goto nursery as well. She waved goodbye to her daddy with amazing enthusiasm. It was very encouraging to see how much she was looking forward to her time at the nursery.  Sharp at 8 she was in. I had plans to pick her up by 1630. One thing led to another and I was able to log off only at 1630. I scooted from work. Earlier I had plans of going home, preparing something for her and then coming back and picking her up. Since the nursery is stone's throw away from our home it would have been feasible. Since I stated late from work I picked her up directly. 

It was very endearing to watch her play with the other kids. She was jumping and running around the room. She was such a far cry from how she was barely a year ago when leaving her was the most depressing and guilt ridden task ever. She came leaping to me. I picked her up and she walked home babbling something or the other. It was all fine till we reached home and she was insistent on opening the door. She throws a tantrum if we open the door. We humour her by letting her try to open. But yesterday I was in no mood for that. I was tired and I knew the more I delayed, the more agitated she would get. Just as I was about to confront her and get the keys, I heard a click from inside. K was home(he is yet to get back to work) and  he opened the door. Seeing daddy on the other side cheered the kitty and she was her normal self again. 

I had kept a boiled egg which she snacked upon. It was time for the Skype calls after that. Maybe plain and simple beginners luck, but day one was not half as bad so had imagined. 

We badly miss mommy but somehow we do survive.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tubi gone

When Chiyaa is unable to find my mom during their hide and seek sessions, she comes to me and says 'Tubi gone'. I would say 'No Tubi has not gone, she is hiding. Come lets search for her. ' Then we would both shout out 'Ready or not here we comeeeeee' and ultimately find her. On Sunday night, mommy was going to brush her teeth. Chiyaa just saw her and said 'Tubi. Where are you going? ' Mommy said 'Tubi gone' and burst into tears.

Yesterday morning, I dropped her at the airport, for her return journey. As she was leaving home, she was disconsolate. She kept crying and wishing she could stay longer. This is life is nt it? Being far from the ones we love to pieces. She must have wrapped so many memories - memories of feeding the little one, playing with her, watching Peppa Pig and Princess, dropping her off at the day care, bringing her back, protecting her if her parents reprimanded her for her tantrums. I thought, she was going back to people who needed her just as much - Papa and Lichie. She was going back to her mom. She was going back to her home. I was strangely very steely. I thought I would be crumbling away. I thought, I would take an eon to get used to her absence. Having K around on leave did help a lot. He made sure that we were out and about to take our minds off the vacant house. Thoughts of when to get Chiyaa back from day care, what item to offer as next meal, the clothes that needed folding and ironing, the vessels that needed getting done, (housework that I had been oblivious to in the past 5 months) were a blessing in disguise to help in taking my mind off mommy.

We both are on holiday for couple of days, on stand by to take care of the little birdie, now that she has so many changes. So the morning mad rush, the evening panic cooking, the mid day stress about the impending chores at home and about do not exist. Next week when the dress rehearsal is over we will get the full impact.  We will truly understand the difference now that Tubi is not around.
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fantastic Friday

At 1000 on Friday morning my heart skipped a beat. I got an alert in my phone "give notice in twinkles". Twinkles is the day care she attends. She will be attending full time day care again in a month hence the 1 month notice is to intimate them of the same . She will be going full time because mummy will be returning to India. *big sigh*

I was living in constant dread that mummy's return would happen one day. I was living in constant preparation of the event. As usual when it was upon me I was least prepared. But life must go on. Since K was out of town we gurls decided to paint the town red ;) No nothing very risqué just dinner and shopping. We went to a place called Red Hot World Buffet which has the most amazing fare when it comes to buffet food. There is a variety of cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Continental, Italian and of course Indian! And who rules the roost? Of course humara desi khana! The queues in front of samosa, tandoori chicken, pulao, chicken korma and masala kulcha have no end. The only place where there is a dearth is the dessert section where only gulab jamun is able to make an entry. The splash of cakes, ice creams and fudges can blow the mind of anyone with a sweet tooth.
 
The little birdie also loves this place. There is something or the other for her. If she is bored with chapatti, there is pizza, if she had enough of that, there is noodles. If noodles has stopped grabbing her attention, there is French fries. Even having small portions gives me the satisfaction that she has had enough. This time to top it all, mummy loved it!! What more could I ask for?
 
After that, we stopped by a place to do some Diwali shopping. I wanted to get it over with before we were too close to the date and it became a rushed affair. Chiyaa's dress was priority. We managed to get a very nice outfit. Little did we know, that she would come home and insist on wearing it. She has been wearing it for 3 days now (Well she does change into her night wear when she goes to bed and changes clothes a million times during the day. But on and off, she had managed to keep on wearing it *rolls eyes*)
 
As the kitty was busy playing, mummy and I managed to watch a documentary on the recent spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and the wonderful job that Medecins Sans Frontieres is doing there. Hats off to the people who take up such a tremendous responsibility. Since the kid showed no signs of being drowsy, we continued with some more tv time by watching the movie Taken. It is not brand new, but it was good fun watching it with mummy. We were all ready to hit the bed, and there is no pleasure greater than 3 generations huddling inside the same duvet on a cold September night. *Sighs* Simple joys!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Together, depart, repeat

The air has got that crisp dryness which announces the advent of Durga Puja. My favourite time of the year. The other day Mummy was putting some of her clothes away in her suitcase and she thought, 'the time for packing has come'. There is still a little over a month for her to start back to India, but I have already started preparations. I have started steeling myself, that in some more weeks, it would be mad crazy getting ready in the morning, it would be real empty coming back to a vacant house in the evening and it will be very weird seeing the second bedroom lying unused.

The first half of her stay (I divided her stay into Before Papa Came And After Papa Left) seemed way quicker. Maybe I was eagerly waiting for Papa to come that I was willing time to pass quickly. Time for a change heard my wishes. Or maybe it was the peak of summer and we had so many things to do, so many places to be that we did not realise the flow of days. Papa was here for a short time of 3 weeks. The time Before The Trip went on at a slow pace but After Trip was just about winding down. I miss our coffee sessions. Papa and I have this funny quirk. We love picking peanuts from Indian Mixtures when we are  having coffee in the evening. We literally used to have contests to grab the next visible peanut first. I find no fun in eating all the peanuts by myself now. The short walks with him, the general chit chat… well I still see all the pictures of his time here every night before going to bed. Chiyaa took some time to realise that Ajaa (that's what she calls Papa) was missing. I think for the first few days she thought he has gone somewhere and will be back. On the fourth day, she kept searching for him at the places he used to hide during their peek-a-boo sessions. Then she started dragging Mummy to search for him outside. At one point, she would pick up any available phone and say 'talk to Ajaa' and start blabbering something. On seeing any elderly gentleman with a coat she would start jumping and saying 'Ajaa'. Slowly she has come to terms that Ajaa would appear on the computer only. It breaks my heart to see her thus. She is innocent, she does not realise, and she will forget. But wish we could have everything we want at one place.

A month down the line, the same would be the case for Tubi(that’s what she calls my mom. :D) But I  have got my lessons learnt after Papa's stay. I try to max up the time with Mummy. K wonders, what do we talk everyday? I can tell him the exact details, but I know that would put him to sleep. We discuss clothes, banking, coding, colleagues, work experiences, spirituality, books, movies and what not! Even if we had an infinite number of days together, we would still talk this much.  This time, I will have Mummy with me for Durga Puja. She will also spend Diwali here but start 2 days after that. It is some consolation that she will be around for some important functions. We may not do anything out of the world, but at least we have got some more company.

We are already making plans for our next India trip and for getting Amma here again. I wish we could make more frequent trips to home like some people do, but with a toddler and 2 jobs it’s difficult. We are thinking about what to do in the long run. There are too many parameters, but I keep reiterating, when the time comes, we will look at one deciding factor and take a call. Till then these sine wave periods  of tremendous joy and bitter agony will continue.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You took a little bit of cheer away

Papa started back to India today. It was only 3 weeks back that he got here. It seems like yesterday that we were worried about him travelling all by himself . He's already gone back and halfway home :(

Papa talks to me about very different things. We discuss genetically modified foods, population of countries, immigration rules- you get the flow :) Once we have discussed something we are  quiet but I really enjoy having those discussions with him. I always learn a lot. Sometimes I teach him too :) I also immensely enjoy having the morning and evening coffee with him. He especially likes the brew I make. He savours the biscuits with coffee as much as I do. It is good fun sipping coffee and munching biscuits with someone who loves every bite and sip as much as you do. 

He is a big fan of walking. When we were kids, I 10 years old and my sis around 5, we used to go for evening walks every day with him. I still enjoy any opportunity to just walk with papa. Evenings I used to come home , have the coffee with mummy and papa and then walk with him to get Chiyaa from the daycare. It was just like old days, walking with him, talking about something current. The days I would not be able to wrap up work early I would go directly to the daycare and papa would have already reached there with a banana or an apple or a piece of cake to give the kitten on the way back. Such simple things but it gave me immense joy! 

Chiyaa also took to him very easily. He was not cautious with her at all. The moment he reached he picked her up and started jumping. From that moment he became VIP for her. He had to take her to the toilet, give her food and water, put her to sleep , play with her. Boy did they play rough- shouting at the top of their voices , running around with Chiyaa chasing him on her bicycle , putting stickers together , and a host of other activities. He loved taking her to the park, pushing her pram for giving her a stroll and doing anything related to her. He also did a lot of work around the house, getting the grocery, putting the trash away, cleaning odd bits . I used to always come back to a house that was clean and well stocked. I cannot thank my parents enough for just taking on the mantle of keeping my house in order. If I had to go anywhere, absolutely anywhere he would accompany me. If he was tired, I would ask him to get some rest since I was used to doing things alone. He would say he was aware I could do it alone and I would anyways be all my myself in sometime, but if he was around , he preferred coming with me. 

It was a very nice experience having him around. He was very different from mummy when it came to being in changed circumstances. He complained about the cold but quickly appreciated the cleanliness. He missed the variety of Indian vegetables but loved the quality of potatoes and cauliflowers so much that he said he won't have them bday more back home . He relished the coffee while disliking the tea. He always kept the balance. If he expressed his lack of appreciation for something he was quick to praise something else. 

There are so many things I wish I had done with him. Taken him to so many places, bought him a burrito from an eat out  that makes amazing ones, got him a pair of sports shoes, had more coffee with him, taken more holidays to just hang around with him. But ... 

He hid his feelings prior to his departure. He spoke about his anxiousness to travel but not about missing us. I would notice him suddenly put a hand in Chiyaa's head as she played and I knew he would miss her. Today morning she wasn't even awake when he started. We asked him to come to her room and see her. He came in and said 'sleeping' mimicking the way she says. Then he stroked her head, kissed her and walked out with a big sob. He was falling apart. 

What terrible torture it is to go away after having spend such wonderful time together. It pained me to see my papa, my hero sit in the taxi and wave me goodbye without looking back at me. 

Chiyaa felt something was different but she could not place her finger on it. As I saw his towel  which he left since it wasn't dry, I felt a blob in my throat. The place where his shaving kit stood all the while in the bathroom stared back emptily. The house felt stark. Papa I wish you could have been here longer. :(

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An eventful trip

The last Bank Holiday of the summer got over on Monday. We had planned a trip to Belfast with Mummy and Papa. It was marked with lots of events :)

1. The morning flight was at 0835. K is not a jittery traveller. He is a VERY VERY jittery traveller - the kind who can spend the night in the airport if encouraged. He said we were going to reach 2 hours before. That is 0635! Since the airport is in a city that is 1 hour away, we had to start at 0530. ( It was not necessary since it was a domestic flight and we did not even have any check in luggage.) But K ko kaun samjhaye?? We had booked a cab. To add fuel to fire the cab driver messaged and said he could come early. K was ecstatic . He advanced the ETD much to my chagrin . Which principle of project management recommends you to do this? Like people of Pompeii fleeing the lava we scurried and got into the cab.
The driver seemed like a Kumbh Mela bichda bhai of K. He asked us to hide the kid since traffic cameras might spot us with a child on the lap which is illegal . Try hiding a toddler who is as slippery as eel. The hour long journey seemed an eternity after which we all heaved a sigh of relief.

2. The name of the hotel in our booking reference was Hilton Belfast TemplePatrick. Since we were totally new to the city, we said the name to the cab driver at the airport. He said it was a 25 mins drive. It seemed a bit strange since we were sure, it was some 10 minutes away. Well, we could have been mistaken. So we went ahead and reached the hotel. All the while, we were totally buying the cab driver's offer to take us on local tours. We reached the hotel and our booking was not to be found. Weird. We searched our printouts, the lady at the desk searched her records, there was nothing to be found. Ultimately we realised, we were supposed to be at Hilton TemplePatrick while we had been deposited at Hilton Belfast. Urgh. We had to back track 20 minutes, not to mention the money lost and the time wasted. The cab driver also lost some future customers. Hmpf! 

3. Most of our trips post Chiyaa revolve around her. So the first stop was a zoo! I was very keen for the zoo, since it housed elephants. We have been to a lot of zoos but never seen one with the pachyderm. We decided to give it a go. It was very thrilling to watch all the different animals. Penguins, giraffes, elephants and flamingos particularly appealed to Chiyaa. Papa was especially excited to see giraffes and sea lions. So the zoo was a resounding success. We decided to book our return cab by the same company whose cab had ferried us from the incorrect hotel to the correct one ;) They estimated the time of arrival at 30 minutes away. We started winding up our tour as we neared the 30 minutes deadline. 40 minutes gone, no sign of the cab. 60 minutes gone, no sign of the cab yet! It was getting colder, windier and evening was setting on. Chiyaa's susceptibility to cold worried us. K rang the company and there was no response. The zoo was not in the middle of the city either. It was on top of a hill and coming down on foot would have been a challenge for Mummy and Papa. At long last, 70 minutes later, we got a call informing us the cab slated for us had met with an accident and a backup was on its way for us. The back up reached 1 hour and 45 minutes after we had placed our initial call! It was really a tiresome wait, trying to keep the kid engaged while battling the cold and the wind.

4. We reached our rooms and we did not need anything more than Mummy-made-room-coffee. She can breathe life with the bare minimum elements. It had been a really long day. All we needed was some shut eye. 

5. We spent most of the next day roaming the coast of Belfast in a cab. It was a very picturesque drive . Once we reached the hotel, Chiyaa seemed to be having a temperature. It had come from nowhere. We were worried sick. We applied lots of menthol balms and hoped and prayed that she got well soon. 

6. By God's grace the temperature had receded the next day. It was mostly tours of the city in an hop in hop off bus . Now the little birdie was not very happy being seated in the bus for long durations. She kept singing twinkle twinkle little stars at a volume such that stars could also hear it! There were moments when the tour guide had to stop talking till her voice receded ;)  She went on her singing spree. We tried to keep her a bit quieter by giving her a sticker book. She loves stickers!!! She was engrossed for sometime till the driver had to brake suddenly . She hit her head on the front board. She let out a wail. And kept crying for a good 15 minutes. There was nothing that could pacify her. The guide literally hushed for the while duration. The poor bunny tired herself and slept off after that :(

7. We retired early the next day too since as usual we had an early morning flight and as usual K was the panic cat. I had set the alarm for 4 since we were checking out at  5. Around 0420 there was a loud knock at the door. Guess what? Yes we had slept through the alarm . We did not have any check in luggage. And we had managed to carry a toothpaste which was more than 100 gms on weight. It was dumped by security on the onwards flight. Papa's toothpaste had survived since it was a smaller tube. So we were sharing that . Since we had not gone to their room till 0415 they inferred we might be sleeping and came to give it to us! Imagine if we had our own toothpaste and Mummy Papa had assumed we were on with our morning chores till the 11th hour!!! Oh the horror !! Dekha jo hota hai insaan ke bhale ke liye hi hota hai!

We are all back home and the normal routine has resumed as the brilliant holiday with those wonderful experiences never happened. But the heart holds such wonderful memories that it can barely be uttered in words! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Papa here

I feel blessed. Big Touchwood. I have both Mummy and Papa with me now! Its temporary, but having them close to me, I am speechless.

Mummy has been here for 3 months now. I had planned Papa's travel a bit later, since there were tasks at home which need him. We were doubtful whether Papa should travel, but I thought, he needs to see his grandchild who is growing up so fast. Papa has a deep rooted liking for kids. He loves them. In fact he is a kid himself. My maternal grandma says, he is still the same as he was when he got married 32 years ago! I did not want him to be bereft of the pleasure of being with a toddler who drives you crazy ;) 

His travel was not meant to be straight forward. We had the initial jitters because Papa had never travelled by air all by himself. We were worried about travel sickness. He is also very absent minded. The whole journey involved a domestic flight and then an international with a transit in Abu Dhabi. We were concerned whether he would be able to manoeuvre through all those transfers. Him raising questions like 'Will I be able to identify my luggage?' and 'Where shall I keep the luggage if I need to visit the washroom?' were not helpful at all. To add fuel to fire, he is not very keen to take advise and information either. My sister literally gave him a lecture on how to go about things. At the end of it he exclaimed 'Lets hope and pray I reach' *rolls eyes * Imagine the utter exasperation of my dear sister.

There were road blocks all through the time. Some or the other outage kept happening at home. Every issue seemed like it was going to take a while to get resolved. That added a question mark to Papa's travel plans. 3 weeks before Papa was slated to travel, my sister got very sick. She started having severe abdominal pains. We were very concerned. She went to a hospital and they took her at once for a colonoscopy and MRI scan. The doctors gave indications that she might need a surgery. Mummy was beside herself with anxiety. I assured her, that I would make arrangements for her to go back. My mom's sisters assured her that they would take care of everything, and Mummy need not return since Chiyaa was dependent on her care. Papa's travel was kept on standby, if things took a turn for the worse, we would cancel his tickets. I was worried for my sister and hoped that all was well with her. The reports suggested that she had an abscess in her lower intestine. Surgery was the preferred route but the doctor opted to try medication first. It was a very slow and painful recovery. 2 weeks later, she was not totally fit, but definitely better (Thank God for that) Papa's journey seemed highly likely.

That's when his elder brother was hospitalised with renal failure. Being diabetic, things were not looking very promising. It was rapidly deteriorating with uncle suffering a stroke and going into coma. The next day, he passed away, leaving Papa crestfallen. He was able to participate in some of the ceremonies before setting for his trip. In spite of all the trials, he was able to finally board the flight was a miracle in itself. When he reached UK , I was thrilled and excited. It was beyond comprehension to see the joy on his face when he entered home, picked up Chiyaa and started jumping. That was the moment I was waiting for! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Business Sutra

I have been ignoring this space :S I have also not been reading my favourite posts :( Which I feel bad about, but can do nothing much.There is only one person to blame for this. My mother :D Yep always blame the mom :P In this case it is really the case. Details about the hows and whats in a separate post maybe. This post is about the book Business Sutra.

I love everything Indian! I love mythology too. Reminds of the lovely train journeys we used to undertake when I was a kid and the stories of Panchtantra were such a pleasant company. I also want to do an MBA one day (someday in the not so distant future when I have the time and money *sighs*) . This book hence is a double whammy. It amalgamates theories of management with stories of mythology. It also has some really well drawn illustrations and 'points to remember' sort of sections which are very catchy. 

The book is a slow starter. The writer draws out some ideas about what is 'Indian' and what is not. He contrasts the 'Indian' attitude with the 'Western' and the 'Chinese'. I personally do not see them building in any way to the topics further on. Or maybe I was missing the point. There is a case study after every tale which is very interesting. I am not sure whether the author meant the book to be used as a curriculum book and hence left the stories and the case studies as he did. As a lone reader, I wish he had elaborated both the instance and the case in question. It would have been a much fulfilling experience for me that way. 

There is lot of usage of Sanskrit and Hindi terms. He does beg his pardon for the number of non English words used, but claims English is limited in conveying all the Indian  ideas. I understand that. But I feel Hindi is not known all over India either. By attaching so many non-English words, he has unknowingly antagonised a very big clientele. There is a glossary of the meanings which I feel a non-Hindi reader might find useful. I personally find it a bit annoying switching between pages to get the meanings of words.

The book as such is a very wholesome reading experience. Leaving the management concepts aside, it is quite enjoyable. There are ideas on how to be a better person and a better professional which makes one contemplate. The author does reiterate his theory that reflection and thoughts focused towards the way ahead (which he claims is 'gaze')should be what propel us. Instead of mundane material, social or physical gains. Some people might find it a bit biased towards the Hindu way of life. If we chose to take just the content rather than the context, it is very valid. The writer has claimed that critics have dismissed the book as 'religious mumbo-jumbo'.  Being pretty irreligious, I did not find it so.

I will not be able to give excerpts from the book since it is best read in the words of the author. But let me ponder on some of the interesting thoughts :-

He distinguishes between 4 types of people :-
Duryodhana  - The rule upholder, one who has adhered by rules always. But his motive was his own gain.
Ravan - The rule breaker, who has always broken rules for his dominance.
Ram - The rule upholder for the good of others. He is a success as a King (professional life) but fails as in his personal life (as a father and a husband)
Krishna - The rule breaker for the good of others. One who grows and has made others grow. 
This clear distinction makes one think, which category one belongs to and why. It also makes one think, which way of life is worthwhile. The author does not judge any  of the characters or evangelize. He just urges us to contemplate and gives case studies which make us put them in context.

He states there are 3 different types of hunger :-
For Lakshmi - resources to nourish our physical body.
For Durga - or power which makes us feel secure.
For Saraswati - or identity to nourish our mental body.
Only when the mind expands, we are able to stretch our vision to see what actually matters. We are able to invoke our deep rooted potential rather than concentrating on limited goals.

While hunger can be of the aforementioned types, different people can have different take on hunger. One can be a  :-
Shiva - Who has no hunger, who neither gives nor takes.
Indra - Who is driven by pleasure, who never gives and always takes.
Daksha - Who is calculative and gives and takes in equal measure.
Vishnu - Who has no hunger, but always gives and never takes.
Again, the author wishes us to think how we are as individuals, what we hunger for and what should be the best and sustainable way to achieve it.

There is a wonderful piece on an organisation being merely a set of people (I have always agreed with this. I believe every industry is end of day a knowledge industry with the people being its USP.  Once the people are gone, everything can crumble.) I really admire the way the author has driven home this thought. He states, an institution is made of of innumerable Taras - isolated people with talent. They in turn merge to form a constellation of Rashi/Nakshatra. This is when groups of people start to matter. Grahas are talents whose individual personalities can make an effect on the organisation. What matters most in all this is the relationships between all these celestial bodies (or personalities) which etch the path of a firm. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You don't scare me no more big city

Maine blog mata se mannat maangi thi, agar London se sahi salamat laut ayi to ek post likhoongi. Hence this post.

Ok let's start from the beginning :) I joined this new place. They recently started doing induction programs for new starters. The firm is biggish and located all over the UK the events are held in the capital London . I had joined weeks prior to getting the invite to attend the induction event I was not sure how to respond . There is always the option to decline an invite of course. I checked with my manager. The irony was he was new to the firm as well having joined a couple of weeks before me and at the point I went to ask him he was booking his tickets to the induction he has been invited for. He told me to go ahead . I went ahead and booked. Later I learnt from a colleague how she had kept declining the invites and ultimately needed to take just a 2 hr video learning . She recommended the path to me. But you know Murphy? The fellow who said if something can go wrong it will? In my case it is 100% assured it will and to top it, it will snowball into a more ginormous problem. I have lots and lots of examples which warrant a separate post I guess.

Now a little information about me. I am a typical small town girl. Big fast cities scare me. Might be the reason why I have never ventured to Mumbai . I am not into quaint idyllic rustic places either. They bore me till I am suicidal. A place like Hyderabad or BBSR works brilliant for me- just the right mix of modern and tradition, pace and rest. London is big, fast, busy busy busy. The best means of commute is the underground called the tube which requires some map reading skills. I do not have my left and right correct. Imagine reading maps! K loves maps and the tube and London . I asked him to find the detailed itinerary for me. He hovered on the laptop for some time and came up with his commandments. His directions:- come out of the train station, take the steps going downwards they will lead to the underground , see your station , take appropriate train, get down , follow people in suits! I swear that is exactly what he said . Talk about being helpful. 

Anyways I did my research . As best as I could. Haggled some co- workers about any details, prayed and set off. On D-day I reached Leeds station on time and train set off. Read 10% of my book. Reached London , checked with help desk for direction to the tube and got there straight. Huh. Pretty straight forward . I went on and started reading the map. Really intently. It was a bit difficult but I had a fair idea of what to do next. There were no crowds of pulling jostling, pushing or pulling me. It was utter calm. Further down the road there was an abridged map for my area which gave me a chance to verify my earlier inferences( which were miraculously correct). Boarded the tube, emerged in the station close to the event. Remarkable. I was lost in the biggish station. Well they are called help desk for a reason and I got my answers straight up. I emerged on my street but as per K's advice there were not a lot of people in suits. Its summer you see. My Google maps was also acting up. Then I saw a group of confused people checking their phones and heading  in one direction . I followed them , they were going somewhere else but I could see my destination. Hurray. Boo ya London . You don't scare me. 

The day was strange with lots of strangers I was forced to interact with. We were supposed to network but if I was into networking what was I doing in IT? Duh! The event finished before time, I could avoid the office rush hour, take the return tube and get home. Finishing this trip has been like finishing an exam. Boy!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

(Y)earning

Does your heart desire something really badly? You used to have something readily available at your disposal and now it seems unattainable. The urge for that   can gnaw your psyche. 

For me parwal tops the chart. It had been 6 years since I ate the vegetable. Back during my working career at Kol when I was dependent on the cafeteria at work for my meals, parwal ruled the roost. It was the ONLY vegetable cooked during summers along with cauliflower being the only one cooked during winters. I used to be sick of parwal. Like how much of one vegetable can you have? There are so many other summer vegetables - but no the chef had a love affair with parwal. I used to hate it so much, that when I  used to come home, I would bar mom from cooking that. It is one of the vegetables which is to my dad's liking. He does not like many of them, but this cheeky veggie made it to his good books. So when I abolished it, he was not a very happy man. But his elder daughter came only for so many days and he gave up. Hence I never consumed the vegetable anywhere else but my office cafeteria. My next stint was at Hyderabad and I saw some glimpses of the vegetable - though not much. I was surely happier.

After marriage I moved to Chennai. But something insidious happened before marriage. During one of the festivities organised as part of the marriage rituals, there was a feast at home. One of the items on the menu was potolo rasa. I am not sure if this is the authentic recipe, I have no idea of cooking parwal at all, because by the time I got into cooking I was kinda into a full blown hateful relationship with it. Coming back to the point, the dish that was cooked at home, was oh! I don't have words. It was something that could convert a meat-eater to be forever vegetarian. I was in love. Madly in love. I vowed to cook that vegetable every week in my soon to be new home. Luck strike 1. Chennai and parwal had not met each other! Interesting. I was not sure how come this green thing had not made its foray into a vegetarian heartland. I started missing the it. Now when I went home, I demanded to have the vegetable. Stroke of luck 2, for some reason or other, it would not be available. The entire time I was in Chennai, I never got to eat it, be it at home or away.

After coming to the UK, we started getting our Indian vegetables from a local store that stocks international foods. As is the theme of my life, the only veggie that was missing was - yea - parwal. (Strike 3)  Boo hoo! Recently we even chanced upon a site that delivers vegetables straight from India. We hunted the elusive one and it said that there is a ban on it till August 2014. Seriously?! (I have stopped keeping count of the knock out punches I am being given in my Pursuit of Parwal.)  Not all was lost. Mummy was coming here. Definitely she could smuggle some of those greenies.  Not a lot, just a kilo. She was all set. Had even purchased the consignment. Now she had to take a domestic flight till Delhi and then the international one. A day before her travel, a well meaning acquaintance made us aware that the baggage limit had been reduced to 15 kilos (or something like that). So, though she had an international allowance of 30 kgs, she had half of it for her domestic flight. A lot of vital stuff were ditched and my precious was also one of them!!!! 

It has been 6 years since I have been clean of the vegetable. Someday little green one, you and I shall be one. Till then the heart yearns for thee.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

(X)Y

The chromosomes that make a man. I do not know many men closely except papa and K. There are many aspects that I admire about the other sex of our species. 

The first and foremost bring their ability to be single minded. I like the way they can switch off from the entire world and concentrate in the task at hand. It does not matter if the task is filing a report, completing a piece of code, watching the final over of a match, installing a new app or completing a level in a game. They give nothing but their 100%. They may pretend to hear a colleague  crib about office politics or the missus complain about the prices of onions. Their heart, mind and soul is into what they are doing. Duniya jaaye tel lene. They have no pretensions about being able to multi task. They can't multi task and they don't multi task. Once at my previous work place, the men were talking about how much their wives needed sleep. They kept swapping stories about how their wives could not function without 'n' hours of sleep. I was the only girl in the group, and I totally agreed that women needed their sleep. That's when one of them honestly  said, 'That's because women do so much more.' I think that is the first ever and maybe only admission by a man that women do so much more ;). I agree that a woman does lots more, many a times at the cost of her health and well being. I am seeing now, how the relentless work by my moms and aunts, is resulting in depreciating health when they are reaching their 50s. A little bit of nature in the form of hormones and what not is to be blamed. They still have to pack in a lot of work in the form of care of grandkids and aging parents. I feel, they need to take much better care of themselves in their middle age.

Oops, I was supposed to go gaga over men. Ok next point. They keep personal and professional totally separate. Heaven hath no fury like a woman scorned . It applies to women in all areas of life. Criticising a woman's work might the easiest path to get into her bad books. Decimation is around the corner :P With a man maybe not.  There are some who are quite touchy about their professional work, but I reckon they are a bit more chilled out than women. Men are totally detached from anything that mildly relates to home. They may not budge from their seats even if the house is on fire, a little credit is due to their attitude of giving everything their full attention. A woman will be guilty of thinking about the menu for dinner, the sale in the local boutique or a French manicure right in the middle of work. If there are kids, the more disjointed the thoughts.

Have you seen a man with a remote? Its the picture of perfect happiness. I find men's love affair with the television annoyingly cute. If you want to drive a man crazy, hide the remote. A man's love for the tv remote is the stuff of true emotional attachment. When it comes to the remote, it's a man's world :)  

Well, most of these observations are from what I noticed about my dad and K, so they might be a bit stereo typical. So what do you think about the (XY)s in your life? 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

(W)hoa!

I succumbed to mom-pressure and got my first. It has been a very different experience. I feel conscious. I feel different too. I hope I am not walking in a funny way which would make the change more obvious. I am more of the conventional girl who prefers comfort over style. I was persuaded by the plea that some styles suit better when we are young(ish). 

It is not 100% comfortable but I definitely feel taller - taller by 4 inches. Why you ask? Cos I got my very first pair of stilettos. :D  



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(V)aibhavi

What else did you think I was going to write about? Who's Vaibhavi? Well that’s my kid. She is called lots of other things like Vibha(which I thought would be pronounced Veebha but has ended up being pronounced like Viva in her nursery :(  ) , Chumki, Chiyaa, Tubi and many more. Naming her Vaibhavi was not easy to start with.
 
When I was expecting, we used to have name-brain-storming sessions. K, mil and I would fling names at each other. No name calling though :P If it was going to be a boy, the name was decided. K and I had  unanimous vote on it. Mil, my parents too gave their go ahead. But what if it was a girl? Our mythology and history abounds in strong male characters. Hence getting our hands on a boy's name was a cake walk. But for a girl, it was such a challenge. We also had this wish of K to accommodate. K's name begins and ends with the same character (K), my name also begins and ends with the same character (A). My mil and sil's names also begin and end with an A. Hmm.. who would have thought that. So K kinda wanted the girl's name to begin and end with an A. We kept looking and looking and looking. We browsed friends' names in Fb and our phone book. Some we considered, but then eliminated for some reason or other – for instance, some names did go with the surname the kid was going to have (The surname being the first name of K as is tradition in Tamil households) Some names did not have a neutral feel, we did not want the name to be type cast into either being from Tam-land or Oddu-land. We wanted a degree of neutrality there. Once we had given up these sources, we started swimming through names, whatever we could think of. Most of the names that came up as a part of this exercise, were rejected because we knew someone mean who was bearer of the same name! The horror of horrors. That led to the death of the initial requirement of the name being from A to A.
 
We gave up A. We tried any name with the regular expression {characterx}{Some characters}{characterx}. Many characters were eliminated, actually most characters were eliminated. We were left with E and I. Huh. Brick wall. What next? Ditch the whole starting and ending with same character funda. Lets break the rules, take off the shackles and go free flow. Hurray. Easy peasy. In fact easier said than done. It was nearly the same scenario with a gazillion restrictions. Mil started saying the 1000 names of Goddess Durga (I guess) and suggesting the name. We kept rejecting. K went old school (very old school ) and started digging names of great grandmas. Hmm.. well I did not want my girl named something which rather be a password. Though I was fighting K's retro theme, I suggested the name Vishalakshi. It is the name of one of my friends's mom and I kinda like that name. K and mil loveddddddd it. Weird. I somehow get a bit fazed by out right approval. I like a bit of a fight instead. The name was good. Mil loved it because it was some Goddess's name. Went with the 70s feel, but there was one little problem. You know how these 2000 kids are? Even OK is K for them and words like TTYL and IMHO are used with abandon (I have to look up wiktionary to find the meaning of these abbreviations). So Vishalakshi was certainly going to be Visha. Now Visha is not a very nice sounding word – in Hindi the word means poison. It also had the risk of becoming Visa(not that Viva is any better now, but who knew what the world might throw). So I raised an alarm. Mil and K agreed, apparently the Tamil word for poison sounded similar. Hah -  a country united by poison :P Thus was the retirement of the very nice sounding name. But the fascination of the letter V caught on. If you have a name with V you can have a jazzy signature-now the kid could thank her parents for something in the future (if she was creative enough). I like letters with strokes – Z, V, K (remember Mask of Zorro? The Z he makes with the sword? ) They give much better signature scope than say and I, J or O. So I started racking my brain. And I stumbled upon the name Vaibhavi.
 
K loved it. Mil liked it. Mom and dad liked it too. My granny thanks to watching all those dance shows on tv was reminded of Vaibhavi Merchant! If you chose to go that route, I quite like Vaibhavi Merchant :P Now with all these people liking it, I started getting my reservations again. But a tired and battle weary K had no stamina to carry on. He put his foot down and stated – If it’s a girl her name is going to be Vaibhavi. The man of the house had spoken, and thus was named the kid of the house.
 
Sorry kiddo, nothing as interesting as Gogol for you :D :P
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

(U)phill Task

Don't worry people I ain't  no polar bear to go into hibernation. I was very hard pressed for time yesterday. The kid had fever, I had a certification exam today (I cleared it, thank you very much :D) and being Sunday there was the whole preparation for the week to be done. But I had to post something, anything. Again I cheated my way out :P Ah and one well meaning reader who did not take the quiz had the audacity to ask me of the results! So here you go - 
There was exactly 1 reader who answered. (S)he (I think I can hazard that pronoun ) reads my blog every day, because she kinda likes it (see no coercion there!) and finds the blog funny. She enjoys reading yet another detail about me (in spite of knowing me so well already). The family posts are her favourite and she does recommend this space to everyone she meets (Is'nt that chweet). Some socio politico posts would be appreciated and I come across as extremely talented (Ahem ahem).

Anyhoo apart from this 1 reader, there is I guess no one who cares a bit about Cherrie (sob sob) Since I do not have a wide clientele of readers, I am going to write about a pretty graphic and morbid topic. I was supposed to write about it yesterday. Then as I stated the time just slipped away and I was left with a one liner. So whats it going to be about today? Any mom with a toddler struggles with this aspect I guess. You guessed it potty training. Now all you happy singletons can look away and go back to whatever fun stuff you were doing. Hah thinking clearly I do not have such a wide variety of readers, so who am I kidding?

Coming back to my case, my m and mil were both very zealous about potty training. Since the young age of 6 months, there have been attempts to get the little one to 'eliminate' outside. Technically they are too young to ask for a loo and hence the term elimination. I read up all sorts of articles - lesser use of diapers, lesser pressure on mother earth to churn through all the plastic;  as a con making the young ones eliminate outside might result in them feeling pressurised. From experience I can say, kids know how to avoid pressure mighty well. They are fully qualified to give parents the royal ignore. So I tried to get her to wee and poo outside. Boy  it was messy business. Keeping an eye on her moods and moves, keeping a tab on time and taking her every hour or so, the disappointment of not hearing the sweet tinkle and the agony of wetting herself minutes later (ARGH!) Slowly the kid did start getting used to whatever mom was trying to do.  Sometimes to humour me, she would use the toilet very adeptly. Other times, I feel to smite me, she would deliberately run away and grace the carpet. I had totally gotten rid of diapers at home. Only during nights and when we stepped outside would I  use it. Daycare brought in a whole different arrangement. Since she was in one of the younger rooms, where there were kids from the age of 12 months, they were all diapered. This helped her unlearn all the good stuff her mom had taught over a year or so. (Darn!) Making her use the loo at the home was starting from scratch all over again.  I  felt as if I was repeating a year in some course :( Boo hoo.

Thankfully, in 4 months time she moved to a room with bigger kids. In the first meeting, when her key person asked  if there was anything I would want them to concentrate on I jumped and screamed POTTY TRAINING. The key person was aghast and seeing my frightening enthusiasm had to acquiesce *Mwahahahaha* She started taking real small teeny tiny itsy bitsy baby steps. She asked me to get pull ups. Now from all the well meaning journals I had read, they all agreed that pull ups are no different from diapers and they did not help in any progress. But who was I to argue with the Key  Person? So next day I got my truck load of pull ups. Allegedly the pull ups make it easier for the kids to get to the toilet and sit by themselves and come back because of the way they are structured (they do not have those Velcro tabs . Hmm  ok. Point taken. One day the KP came and told me that she had used the toilet and done a wee there. After some days, she was keen to proceed to keep the kitten without pull ups as well. We stocked up on pants and kept our fingers crossed on accidents. There are days which are accident free then there are others. Encouraged by all this, I have started keeping her off the diaper during night as well. In the span of a week, I would say my success rate has been 40%. Not good, but not too bad either.

This has some how been the most challenging aspect of the little birdie's upbringing. There were aspects like weaning, self feeding, self sleeping, separation anxiety and what not, which have settled down.  She has shown her pattern with respect to these aspects. It  has been proved that I was worrying unnecessarily. But this elusive potty training has been beating me since August 2012. I know, she wont be 13 and still in diapers. But what if?! Eieeekssss! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

(S)hopping

Hmm, I can see the twinkle in the eyes of ladies at the mention of the word :) A quirk of nature, I hate shopping. Yes, you heard me, I hate shopping.

I do go every week and shop for grocery for the week. I like buying good and fresh ingredients on my way back from work. I do shop for a new attire if I have to attend an all important interview. I shop for gifts for near ones when there is a special occasion coming up. That is all shopping means to me. It has to serve some purpose. Other wise I find it pointless to visit a shop.

Back in my working days in Hyderabad, we were six bachelor-ettes who used to live together. To tempt us, we had a Pantaloons at stone's throw from our house. There was also a horde of malls and shops within walking distance. You know how girls and shopping go. So I used to step out nearly every weekend for some shopping spree or other. That was one time I really used to enjoy it. Since atleast 3 of us would have stepped out at any given time, we were able to bag a lot of bargains, say 3 shirts for a certain amount - we were first in queue. Buy 2 and get 1 free - there we were again. It was great fun to gain a bargain. The whole trying of clothes which bores me to my wits end now, seemed so interesting back then. During peak sale seasons, there would be a scarcity of changing rooms. We  would cram into one and face a corner and get dressed, all the while giggling away. I wonder how it might have seemed to someone waiting outside! :O 

When I moved to Chennai, I missed those fun filled days. K being a man's man, was very impatient when it came to shopping. His opinions would be quick and what seemed to me, lacking an eye for detail. We were bound to have an argument at the shop with me complaining that he was not giving enough attention and he retaliating that I did not value his opinion. Once, I went to Bangalore to get my shopping done. Bangalore was home to Sam who was a connoisseur when it came to shopping. She would take me to the best-est places. I have known Sam since school. She is the only person who totally gets me in a matter of minutes even if we would not have spoken for years. So she knew just the places to take me to. I still have some of the clothes I shopped with her! It has been 6 years and whenever I wear them, I remember her, all the fun times, the bonding. But then bobbing over to Bangalore whenever I needed new clothes was an expensive affair. There was room for further marital tiffs here.  My sister stepped in as the peace broker. She is in love with shopping. She will shop for anyone and everyone, even the neighbour's dog. So she started getting my clothes. There was one point where K asked her, if she could get some nice dresses for me. That tradition which started 5 years ago when she started working still continues. When she was in Mysore, she would pop over home at Chennai and deliver me some goodies. Eventually she moved to BBSR and whenever I made a trip to my parents, I would have a bag full of clothes stitched and ready for me. We would not miss out on the shopping trips to further enlarge the baggage. Shopping with mom and sis is awesome fun. There are a few activities which are as entertaining. We pull each other's leg and gang up against each other and have a laughter riot. What is the icing on the cake is the session of pani puri eating. Hmmmm.... the pani puris at BBSR, I am going to get tears now :(

Even now thanks to online shopping, we can chose and discuss clothes and dresses.  I have parcels reaching me on birthday with the brightest clothes on God's green earth. When my mom came over, she came with a whole suitcase full of clothes. I am good till the end of the year :D That said, my need for shopping has further reduced. Which has brought down my enthusiasm for shopping. So till the kid grows up and gets shopping, I will stay put thank you :) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

(R)ail

It has been so long since I traveled in our Bharatiya Rail. Gradual increase in distance from home town and decrease in air-fare thanks mainly to Air Deccan, took me far from the Great Indian Rail. It is though the biggest institution of our nation. The biggest public sector employer in the world. It was the medium which took  us from our quaint little city to happening Delhi, bustling Kolkatta, pristine Trivandrum, vibrant Chennai, dreamy Nainital, splendid Mysore and so many more places. 

There is some aspect of the rail that seems very simple and humble to me. Something that reminds me of my grass roots. Something that reminds me of my childhood. Something that reminds me of family vacations. Something that reminds me of a time when technology had not usurped every aspect of life. (Not that I am averse to technology, I am a total technophile )

The start to a train journey would be always filled with anxiety. Hours prior to the journey there would be frantic calls to Enquiry desk checking if the train was on time. Train delays were a rule rather than exception. Most of the time, the number would be busy, but if fortune favoured us, we were privy to up to date information. If the train was delayed by a longish period say an hour or so, we could start a bit later from home. Not that it was of much use, because we would just sit all dressed up and really eager on the sofa.  Papa had this rule of reaching the station 1 hour before the journey began. He would call the auto rickshaw on time, while we three would get ready with luggage. Counting of the number of luggage was of utmost importance. (Seems silly now, but then simple days, hence importance of simple things :)  )Once all the luggage were loaded, the trip would officially commence. Once at the station, the most important thing would be to check the platform. There were some trains which were slated on a particular platform only. But still, Papa would view the list diligently to see any amends. If the list was not updated or did not satifsy a trip to the enquiry desk was again the norm. The next step was the haggling with the porter. The porters some unwritten contract with the driver (I hope that is what you say to one who drives a train :S ), and had some super natural knowledge about   the coordinates of your coach with respect to the platform. They knew exactly where the coach would be located on the vast stretch of platform. How they knew that? Beats me. Experience? Maybe.  But negotiating the right price with them was a trick. There was nothing which bothers the family more to learn it could have been cheaper. Platform sorted, porter sorted. We were nearly there! The last bit would be boarding the train. The porters had a knack to suddenly disappear when the train arrived. Many a times with the luggage. Many a times leaving you in the middle of no where with all the luggage. This is just as bad, because once you have negotiated with a porter, your mind tends to get a bit relaxed that all's well now. If suddenly the main guy disappears, boy you feel genuinely abandoned. But like most Indian magic tricks, this one too has a happy ending. They do reappear, sometimes with adjusted coordinates of your coach, sometimes with some additional information that there might be delays down the line and sometimes with a cheeky smile that they had gone to relieve themselves. :D 

So in side the train. What all the build up has been about. Now the mind has the liberty to spin images of the holiday ahead. Of the clean fresh hotel rooms or lovely meals cooked by granny, of the historic places to be visited or the aunts to met after a year. I remember being hooked onto Twinkle and Tales of Panchtantra. Those books made journeys of 28-34 hours seem like nothing. Which reminds me, journeys of 28-34 hours definitely needed food. 2 days prior to the D-day, mom would start deciding the menu and then cooking. It would definitely be meals which would survive the journey themselves :) And also edible even if cold. The choice of the day would be puri or ghee ke parathe with aloo matar. Hmmm... we call that typical curry 'Mommy's train aloo curry' (in fact I have asked Mummy to make that tomorrow :D ) Along with that, if we were catching an early morning train, there would be bread and butter sandwiches or ones filled with cucumber, onions and tomatoes. Mom had the talent making them in such a way that they would not get soggy by the time we had them.One trick was not to add any salt, and she would always carry a separate container of salt in case any one needed. She was the best in making it! Mom's touch. My sandwiches turn soggy even  if I make them in the morning to have by lunch :( It was a great bonding experience to sit around with paper plates and have those meals. It was also intriguing to watch what the other families were partaking. Some bigger groups would have a veritable pot luck going on. Some families would have mostly dry snacks. Some people would be running at every 'big' station to get stocked up. While other relied on the Rail catering system. Now that was a different ball game all together.No matter how stocked up we were, the aroma of the food brought in those teeny tiny aluminium containers to those who  ordered them were too tantalising. One was bound to succumb to them. Most of the times it was inevitable since there was no way we had home cooked food for a 2 day long journey.So the last and mostly penultimate meals would be thanks to the Rail. The portions would be minuscule and we would order in such a way so as to have a variety. But it was surely very enjoyable. What added further flavour to a days meals were countless cups of teas and coffees consumed from the vendors.

Sleeping was yet another aspect. The ritual of putting the bed sheets in a berth in a locomotive - there are few things that are as interesting. I remember there would always be an early retire-r, the one who would hit the bed first. As if on cue, all would follow. There would surely be some adjustments of berths. Someone would prefer middle (I loved middle), someone wanted top (Papa loved top) while someone would juggle for bottom (Mummy was always bottom). There would gentle negotiations and bargaining and at the end all would have their coveted place. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. 

No train journey was uneventful. Each was very different from another. There were a variety of experience depending on where we were going, with whom, and when. There would be sporadic friendship, card games and antakshari s. There would unwarranted delays in desolate locations. There would be sudden shortage of water. There would be so many myriad people and locations. And always it would end in us smelling ferrous and feeling as if the ground beneath our feet was still shaking, as if we were on the rail.

PS. The survey I posted yesterday, is totally anonymous. I swear. Go ahead, humour me please :) 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

(Q)uiz



Lets take a short quiz shall we? ;) Please follow me 

Ok people your responses are totally anonymous, dont be scared, I wont hurt you :P

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

(P)et Sematary

Seen this Stephen King movie? If you haven't don't . 

When we were kids the children in the neighbourhood would swap ghost stories. There was a graveyard near our school and while waiting for the school bus in the mild winter evenings , we used to let our imaginations run wild formulating ghost stories about the unknown buried there. During power cuts in summer vacations when we used to visit cousins, the hours would pass saying stories about unearthly sightings. The verdant village environment did aid in enhancing the eerie feeling. Naturally ghost movies were quite thrilling to watch during those formative years. I remember a serial named Quelay ka Rahasya being telecast on television late at night. In spite of my mom's advise I chose to watch it. For the whole week, my mom never had a full nights sleep since I would always wake her at night to accompany me on the bathroom trips. Likewise was the case if I had heard a particularly spooky story at school or from friends. Mummy would admonish again and again to abstain from such activities but I had no idea what was the thrill ? She was very logical in her reasoning that such stories or shows are not petrifying  when heard. They are rather funny infact. It is when we reminiscence especially in the dead of night or in a desolate house that they seem disturbing. 

But who listens to words of wisdom and experience? One fine night, I was in my room at Kolkata watching Pet Sematary.  The movie revolves around pets being buried in a particular cemetery who were getting resuscitated. It is not conventional scary in terms of blood and gore but very nerve chilling and disorienting. I think that is the USP of well made horror movies.  I watched The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock  and I did get the same experience though the story seemed very innocuous . Anyways coming back to the movie in hand , I started getting sleepy in the middle and decided to call it a night. I had to use the toilet. I went out of my room turned to go to the toilet  outside my room and switched on the light. I looked above at the ventilator and saw a big black cat. I froze. The cat stared. It then jumped and ran straight past me. Luckily the main door of the house was directly opposite to the toilet door. Since it was a warm summer night, I had the door open. There was another  gate ahead which was locked. I had left the door open to let some fresh air and would have closed it before retiring . So the cat bolted out of the main door and scraped through the  gate. All this happened within the matter of seconds. I am not sure if I have been able to paint a good picture of the events but trust me they were very unsettling. I was shaking for quite some time after that. 

How did the cat manage to get into a closed bathroom inspite of it being locked I have no idea. What would have happened if the main door was not open, I care not to imagine. I cannot visualise going and opening the door to a feral frightened cat. I think I would have zipped into my room locked the door and waited for the maid to come in the morning:( since coincidentally I was all alone at home that night.  The incident occurred when I was watched Pet Sematary  was the most uncanny. There was some weight in the words of my mom after all. That day hence I swore never to watch  any horror flick ever again. 

Ok I have watched Ek Thi Dayan and Vaastu Shashtra. But that's it. Horror films and I don't go together. At all. 

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