Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August again!

Though I had a few thoughts brewing in my head, I kept putting them off. A bit of lethargy and a bit of procrastination. So before August draws to a close, let me put my post up.
August is guess what – yes holiday season! Summer holidays! Before they start I panic. I keep wondering how to keep Chiyaa gainfully engaged for 6 weeks. This is the last year it is only Chiyaa, from next Chumki joins her for her day care ends! (How time flies, that little one will be in school next year!!) So to keep Chiyaa engaged, I enrolled her in a couple of dance sessions and a week of sports.  That took care of 7 days :D There were many many more days.

K was on parental leave the first week of the hols. He did a stellar job of keeping the kids engaged. They would go on walks, collect rubbish from the neighbourhood, go and have lunches and be busy. And in the lean time, when Chiyaa would pick a book, K would engage in some online fighting J For me I did not have the rush of getting Chiyaa dressed and all in the morning, which meant I could have 15 additional minutes of sleep! So much so, even my showers are longer and more relaxing. Also once back, I did not have to scurry away in the car for the pickups. I could have a relaxing cup of coffee and pick Pumpki once it was time. Wow! I think I am getting used to this :D

The roads are scant since many people book holidays thus lessening the traffic. We have purchased many books so every room is littered with a pile. There are toys all over the place – some setups have a strict warning “DO NOT TOUCH” like this 
since the kids intend to resume play any moment. At the mid point of the hols, I can say, I am loving itJ

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Bluntly speaking - They are just movies for crying out loud!

I do not understand why movies are being given the importance of a dissertation? When the movie Uri was released, people were agog about it. It felt as if India had won a cricket match against Pakistan! The hype was so much, I was tempted to persuade K to go for the movie in a theatre. ( I am a human after all!)  Thank God, better sense prevailed (my logic was – if I watched Thor Ragnarok on Apple Tv, I should wait for the online version of Uri too) When I finally had the viewing pleasure of the much touted movie boy was I in for a massive disappointment!!!!!!! In the movie kuch bhi ho raha hai! An intern is making a prototype which is the main surveillance device. I wonder if the highly qualified DRDO scientists were on Instagram posting pictures while this intern managed to develop Garud! An officer who was on a desk job is reinstated onto a high profile mission – JUST LIKE THAT! No vetting, no fitness checks nothing.  Tumhe ek team tayyar karni hai Vihaan” or something to the likes was quoted by the superior officer. Again I think more eligible folks were updating CV on LinkedIn. He goes on to lead a mission which has ridiculous twists and hey! also an helicopter fight thrown in for good measure. The movie was nothing but a feature length chronicle of newspaper snippets and theories proliferating in media.

If one goes through a fine tooth comb and presume it is all factual, there would be serious doubts on the security of armed missions and also the secrecy of armed missions. The surgical strike was a tactical mission and hence a lot of information about it must and should be confidential. It is thus appropriate that a lot of content of the movie was derivative. These thoughts are solely mine. I cannot label that because majority of the people like it, India is a country of jingoists. Or people who did not like it are anti-nationals.  As a movie, if it entertained audiences – it has served its purpose. That is what cinema is. It is a story. It is not a treatise. The screenplay writers are not experts in any field, they are story writers. If the story is not well told, if it fails to entertain audiences, it will not gain traction. That does not mean the movies need analysis under the lenses of patriarchy, feminism and other buzz words.

Given this I am bewildered at the critics and their pseudo intellectualism while analyzing something as temporal as movies! I see the world divided into two when reviewing Kabir Singh – that it reeks of misogyny and many other terms which need me to pick a dictionary. It is a movie! Like it or leave it. It is not an intellectual product. I hated the hugely successful movie Saathiya. I cannot fathom what made the lead character portrayed by Rani Mukherjee marry while in the middle of her doctoral education. There was no resistance from family, there was no rhyme or reason. I would bash that as “insubordination of an offspring”. There was a spew of “obsessive lover” stories in the late nineties like Darr, Agnisakshi, Anjam  and maybe many more. The highly successful movies Hum aapke hain kaun and DDLJ were I feel an epitome of patriarchy (if I speak like the current crop of critics) where the girl wasn’t even asked! We never had critics regurgitating words from a dictionary while reviewing those movies! If given a chance anyone can over analyse anything.

Movies get many things wrong. Pick any biopic and one can see glaring fictionalization to adequately entertain. Dangal would not have been the same without the fictional mirch masala. Movies stereotype blatantly and brutally. Some communities have been the butt of jokes since forever. If its funny it will be irrespective of the accent or the makeup of the person delivering it. Laugh and move on. A movie is a story, not a message – social or political. A movie is a story, not a commentary. It is a personal experience how you take it. If you are inspired, excited, spellbound or had a laugh – good for you. If you are offended, disgusted, disappointed or bored – again your problem, deal with it. There is no need to see either scenarios with glasses of social commentary, evocative discourse or anything remotely intellectual. Intellectualism does not reside in the silver screen. If you want to have deep thoughts and profound discussions – chuck the cinema and pick a book.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Freaky Friday

I have always been a martial arts enthusiast. In school we were trained for a few classes/months – I don’t remember. What I do remember is practising my moves on Papa at home and giving him a wrist injury! But since then I have always been very very keen on martial arts. (Or maybe before that, because I have loved Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies since forever.) I like Karate in particular – for its one of the art forms which relies both on hands and legs (for instance taekwondo relies more on legs) and does not depend on any weapons ( karate means “empty hand”). BTB there is a weapons training in karate, which is the normal moves assisted with weapons . (You can see I have done a fair bit of research – mostly internet driven. So if any of the facts are incorrect, don’t take me to court).

When Chiyaa was born, it was a no brainer that no matter what she would learn karate. Ipswich gave us the first chance. Since she was not yet 4, she was needed to train with an adult which had to be K (since I was tied up with Pumpki) As the days passed, her interest in karate seemed to wane. It was worrying. K commented that since she was in the same class as dad, she did not like the fact that he was praised some times. (Weird I know – but in those classes, they used to make kids compete with adults. A free for all and super duper weird.) K asked me to come along for a class as spectator to encourage her. I did. She was encouraged plenty and did real well. But I was also convinced by the instructor to give the class a go. It was as if I was waiting for the bait. I took the trial class, a class then on and before I knew, I had bought the uniform and all geared up for my Karate journey. (Amma was there, so Pumpki was attended to, I started my classes on a feaibility basis :D )

I am eager about stuff, but don’t take me for a fool. Slowly I realised glaring defects in their mode of teaching (yes I am a die hard critic. I am optimistic but critical – be careful of me) It did not take me long to pull Chiyaa out of the class, research more classes and put her in a awesome Karate coaching club. (I just loved it there). K continued his classes at the old place, but being the one seeking company, his attendance started dwindling. In a timely fashion he got injured during sparring once, and dropped 2-3 classes, which soon turned to stopped attending any classes :D

To ease his guilt, we moved to Leeds. J

I kept searching for karate classes in Leeds. I kept taking Chiyaa for trial classes in a zillion clubs! (Boy was I surprised to find the number of clubs around!) She was enthusiastic about every class. She loved every class. But it was not easy to deceive me ;) Finally after 4 months of scouting we entered the waiting list of a club. Waiting list was step 1. She had to like the trial class(which I was sure she would), I had to like the trial class( which I wasn’t so sure I would) and then we had to get going. Luckily everything fell into place and she was a student of karate again.

On cue K joined the classes too and dad and daughter started progressing. I stood in the sidelines, proud of their gradings, their tournaments, their practice together. I kept waiting for my turn. My idea was, once Pumpki started her training after she was 4, we would rejig our time and I would somehow start attending the classes. To give a bit more detail the classes happen on Tuesdays and Fridays. The under 9s train from 1800-1900, and the main class (over 9 to whatever age is interested) is from 1900-2100. So. Chiyaa would be dropped by me, picked up by me/K and then K would rush to attend his class (we have one car) It is a bit rushed and we are scurrying through Tuesday s and Fridays.

Till a few classes back the sensei said, Chiyaa could attend the main classes since she seems to be mature enough to do so. (Belt wise and demeanor wise J )So dad and daughter started training together and they loved it! This gave K an idea, that I could train one of the days. That way I could start working on my dream! It sounded tempting but I was skeptical – Pumpki, long term feasibility etc etc. K brushed these concerns as excuses! I have no idea why he was so enthusiastic about my training. Think he loves me and could sense I was literally jumping on my feet to start training. Anyways what goes inside a man’s head! After thinking a lot, debating and trying to come up with adverse scenarios I had to give in. There is one unhandled scenario still where Pumpki starts training and has to attend the kid’s class and someone has to bring her back. We have addressed this as of now by working out that the non-class-attending parent would bring her back while the class-attending parent and Chiyaa would take the bus and return home.

Long and short of it – Friday I attended my first proper Karate class (again!) And I oh so loved it!! When I came home, I was exhilarated. It felt awesome. Pumpki was fine at home with K and Amma. It felt nice to see the kids getting independent and I being able to do my things. Now K is looking forward to all of us participating as a team in the tournament next year!! (Boy that should give us some points for cuteness ;) )

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rain rain - do whatever you want to do

I am reformed. I am not hating it. I am not loving it either. I am liking it would be close enough. 
I am liking the fact that I don’t have to hunt for a seat on the right hand side of the bus. Let me explain. The sun’s oblique rays scorch the left hand side of the bus i.e the east. It is more of a problem for me since
a. I read a book on my phone and the reflection and glaring rays really bother me.
b. I sit on the top deck of the bus because I like sitting there. The lower deck distracts me, people getting in and out, the activities on the street what not. I am very easily distracted.
So I like the fact that I don’t have to go searching for an appropriate seat.

Also the blanket brightness removes the feeling of the passage of the day. It is the same bright day from 0600 to 2130. Literally. But when rains and the associated clouds come into play, the texture of the day keeps changing. Sometimes it dull, sometimes its dark, sometimes it becomes a teensy bit bright and then rainy. It seems to have a bit more variety. I dont mind that.

It reminds me of home, of Bhubaneswar – of the monsoon. It is nearly monsoon time there. And it reminds me of how much I hated it growing up. And all the stuff we used to do to dry clothes. We Indians are passionate about drying clothes arent we? Something I feel we share with the Brits. Any day the sun shines I see clothes magically appear on the clothes lines. I wonder if people wait for the sun to wash. Or they put clean clothes to wash just because its sunny or they put dry clothes on the clothes line just for laughs. I cannot check, but I remember back in India the passion with which we needed to dry clothes. We used to string wires across rooms – bedroom, dining space – anything goes. And put all the wet clothes there with the fan on in full speed. We hated the “fan dried” clothes. And waited for the rains to stop. We do not face the problem of drying clothes because of the dryer. But there is an inherent dampness in the coats and the shoes. I would prefer it dry, but I don’t mind it.

The place where I live, there is a general misty feeling around. An earlier me would have hated it. This new me finds it poetic! I am alarmed. I asked K if everything is ok with me and he said “It actually is beautiful, why wouldn’t you find it beautiful ?” Point. He can shush me!

I am happy with the changes though. Age has come with some positive changes I would say. I am not grumbling as I stand in the bus stand and the bus is delayed cos of the rains. I am also thankful for the right choice of footwear and outerwear which enables me to be relatively dry (of course this is a skill developed over the years of residence in this country. I have figured out what to wear when :D ) . An earlier me would have worked from home under such inclement weather ;) But I am liking coming to work and sitting in the climate controlled 13th floor, where my window seat gives me the privilege of looking outside and the murky sky while appreciating the artificial brightness inside (I am not being sarcastic ). 

Working at office is helping me to be more disciplined rather than foraging through the fridge and food cupboard.

The rains are supposed to get worse over the next 2 days. Bring it on. I feel prepared :D  

Friday, June 7, 2019

A letter to my daughters - first of many :)

I had been meaning to write this for a long time, but today I read something which made me feel that I have to write this. This is in no way a complete message and I will keep on adding more (you know how I love expressing my inner most thoughts ;))
Many people have written letters to their offspring, to their past/future selfs. So here I stand going down the same road.

So girls gear up, here is mummy speaking.

  1. Be empathetic. It is easier said than done, but try to treat others how you would like to be treated. This will be especially true when you have your own friends circles and cliques. It will be easy to ignore the ones outside the boundary or sitting on the fence. But try to always think, how would you feel if you were them. Not so good maybe, if you were being treated like them. So be nice to people who are different from you.
  2. Have a mind of your own. Whenever you read something, hear something – think. Use your own judgement. Use your own moral compass. For instance if you read an article on Brexit, pause and think and weigh the facts. If you are not able to make your mind, read some more, research some more. Find out more and then join the dots. Think aloud your thoughts. You will etch a stand of your own. It is easy to get moved by passionate writers/speakers. Remove the emotion. Use the head not the heart. And the same goes for everything – Brexit, diets, education reforms, anything. Yeah some things cannot be read up. But as you hone your analytical mind on measurable stuff, you will start sub consciously working on the subjective ones. Then if your friends are excluding someone or being mean to someone, you will be cognizant enough to question their actions.
  3. Battles for wars. Pick them wisely. Some battles are not worth it. Don’t invest time and effort to just prove a point. Many wars are not worth it either. Don’t wage one just because you can.
  4. Accept but don’t settle down. Life will throw many things at you. You will not do well in an exam you studied hard for. You will not win a contest you prepared well for. You will not get a job you gave your right hand for. Your exercise routine will not give you the results you expected. An endeavour wont be successful. Accept them all. But don’t give up or settle down. Don’t think you wont ever do well in exam hence there is no point in studying. Or no point in contesting, preparing, applying for jobs or exercising. You are the work in progress. As you study, prepare, exercise – you get better, you develop life skills. You will become better. There is no judge for that, that is the contest you have with yourself. What did I do better? How did I become better?
  5. Read a lot. It is a way to understand the minds of other people. It is a way to delve into cultures and lifestyles. It is a way to give wings to your imagination. It is a way to escape. It is a way to be grounded. It teaches you to count your blessings. It is a trait that enables you to never be bored. If you have a book and if you like the company of a book, trust me you will never be bored. Just like life will throw lots of hardships and disappointments your way, it will also throw lots of opportunities to get bored – state where you are not sure what to do and time stretches like an endless desert – if you have a book you will not endure that unending pain of watching time pass. There will be occasions where you wont be able to read a book – but if you can – you wont know an emotion called boredom. That my kids is a blessing. People get bored in multifarious ways and try to alleviate it with silly stuff  like eating, talking nonsense, watching mindless television. There is nothing better than picking a book and losing yourself. There will be phases where the habit mine wane – an exam, a new job, a change, your own kids. But  always come back to the habit. You will be glad.
  6. Write a lot too. If you read, you will write. As you read, you will feel the saplings of ideas and thoughts in your own head. As you write, you will feel as if you have created something. You will feel the logical pathways of your mind. You will analyse your thoughts and emotions better.
  7. Believe in God. It just helps. No one has seen God, no one has proved God. But the belief in Him helps. Believe in Him as a doer of good, as a protector, as a friend.

Hope this helps J

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The lull

It has been over a month since I blogged. I used to come over to my space once in a while and return without writing anything.. something akin to opening the fridge to eat something, but then seeing nothing that I fancy and returning. The craving to eat something would die eventually. The craving to write would die eventually.

But its been over a month, and I hadnt written a word. I was getting a bit wary that I would become a member of the extinct species of “bloggers”. Bloggers are so few and far between now a days. My few random readers and one diligent reader ;) are busy with their respect upheavals to pay attention to this tiny blur “cherries blogs”.

I also write for myself. I write to commit stuff to memory. I write to give a bearing to my many random thoughts. There have been quite a few, none poignant enough to make me write. Life has been going on at a steady pace. It has been 8 months at my “new” (now not so new) place. I am totally indoctrinated to the pace and style of work here. The kids are done with the “settling down” and have now started to grow. Something like my plants at home. They started young and fragile a year back, and this year, some have outgrown their pots! I had to get bigger size pots for them. Amma is here who takes care of half the work at home and gives me ample time. So much so, I am definitely sleeping more at night, which I judge from the fact that I literally rise and shine in the morning.

Things are going at calm, sedate pace. I feel a bit unsettled by all this. This is all too good to be true. Is this the calm before some unknown storm? When I read about children having terminal illnesses, families obliterated in accidents and catastrophes – it gives me a shudder. I was mulling about a vacation during a lull period at work. I opened to run as a background thread and the news I read was of the tourists drowned in Hungary. I immediately shoved away any thoughts of the holiday for the time being. I know it sounds down right morbid.

Though that’s not my usual frame of mind. I am glad the kids are happy, work is even paced, family is doing well (more or less) and the sun is shining J

Monday, April 29, 2019

I did not expect to write a post today

But who can let go of awesome fodder for writing? So here goes another incident in the happening life of yours truly.

Sunday was going on fine. It was relatively hectic where K and Chiyaa went for a karate class and I had to keep Pumpki entertained at home for close to 5 hours. The weather did not allow us to step outside. Managing her with the week’s prep of cooking is hard work. K and Chiyaa also came back pretty exhausted from a 3 hour long class. All of us were a bit here and there once we got together around 3 in the afternoon.

To add to the melee, I had ordered some plants online and they got delivered on Friday. I wanted to plant them since I was sure there would be no time in the weekdays. But to plant them, I needed K’s help with digging a biggish hole. He is not a keen gardener. He is the one to get pretty annoyed with my constant wish to buy plants, pots, to do composting, saving kitchen water and the whole 9 yards. Well, in this case, it was he who wanted a “tree” and I had gotten a tree.  Well its more a little plant now, it will eventually grow into a tree :D

K being the unaware gardener thought tree needs big hole, I dig big hole! (Even though it is a small plant, it does need a big hole for its root system to establish). He started digging. The problem is there was something in his way! It was a green pipe. Now we never figured out what this green pipe was for, but its went across the patch. We planted stuff around it. One of our neighbours casually mentioned that it might be a cable wire. We do not watch cable since we stick to online streaming, so the wire wouldn’t matter to us. But we never got around to doing anything about it. I always thought, what if I get electrocuted!In fact, I bought extra soil to add and cover the wire.

Sunday evening, K had to dig the hole and this wire was coming in the way. And he decided to take action. He has all sorts of tools and being the true bred engineer, he got to work to cut the wire off. As I came outside to monitor the progress of the hole digging, I noticed that the wire cutting was nearing completion.
I asked aghast “Why did you cut the wire?”
“Because it kept coming in the way!”
“But are you sure it will not impact anything?”
“See it is  a co-axial wire, must be for tv”
To be honest, I was pretty impressed he knew what a co-axial cable was and could identify one! My engineer hubby :D

“But are you sure it will not impact anything?”  - I asked again
“We will soon find out” K said that with ultimate “K” coolness.

We did find out soon. “Daddddddddddddddddddddy the TV is not working”. We had the world’s best “We have messed up” look.  Notice I say “we”. I am all for team spirit ;) But if I had even scratched a co-axial cable K’s rant would have made me feel like turn back time and undo my actions. Being the good Indian wife, I chose to stand by the husband :D We did some more investigation and found out that the humble co-axial cable also brought the internet connection home. We have fiber connection, but its only the “last-leg” that has the funky fiber optics cable. Those are well hidden. (thank God) Tain tain tainnnnnnnn!!!!

What followed was frantic calls to the internet provider. Worry over the cost of re-establishment of internet. Concern over how to get approval from work for a day’s leave in such short notice. There was close to one hour’s chaos and confusion. All the while the kids went about moaning, fighting, crying, demanding our attention and being at their worst behaviour which is typical when there is an emergency ;)

So day after tom from 12-4 the “engineers” will come and hopefully our house will be back on the world wide web :D :D That was some Sunday action I had not anticipated :D