Thursday, December 31, 2009

Run up to the holiday season

I somehow have not seen a lot of year ending posts this year. Last year, reading such posts only made me write my very own year ending post - with the ups and downs. This year, I have not been up to date in visiting my favorite blogs and many apologies for the same.

This year, the run up to the holiday season itself was fantastic with my sis reaching Chennai on 24th Dec and mommy following up on 25th Dec. It was supposed to be one week full of travel, with mom making a trip to Mysore and sis making a trip again on the 31st weekend. We somehow convinced our lazy dad to also come by the 31st weekend. All of us would be together on the morning of the New Year that way! But then, man proposes and God disposes. Sister got her posting to Bbsr sooner and she had to move down there on the 27th. Now she and dad will be coming down together this evening! Somehow the wish of all 4 of us being together got fulfilled by chubby God.

I will remember this year, for both professional and personal reasons.
Professionally I moved on, a lot. I was given challenges, I took up responsibilities apart from the mundane work and I essentially did stuff that I so enjoy doing. A bit less than 5 years back, when I was in the nadir of my professional life, I never thought, I would see days like this. Those were the times, when everyday I would pray to God to make it pass somehow. Every single thing about my life was so so wrong then. The main reason I was in agony was because of my work life. And inspite of whatever I did to get over it, the double I seemed to be pulled into the quagmire of despodency. But those 2.5 years of utter anguish did teach me a lot. Today, its a me, who simply loves going to work and tries to instill the same in the young and restless newbies. Maybe God showed me the darkest of the dark phase, so that I can empathise with any kind of person at work. Touchwood.

There were a lot of changes on the personal front especially in my parents house. I got to start the year with some quality time with them. Then my sister moved out to her professional life, which was a big milestone. To see her off, it was again the gang, parents, mil and K. We again had some real good time together. But the time that followed with her not being there with my parents was very tough. No one was able to reign in their emotions when it came to sis's absence from home. Life has somehow come full circle and shes back where shes truly missed. Then again my parents paid a visit for Dussera which turned out to be a week of fun and togetherness. I chanced to make a trip to Bbsr in Novemeber, where a weeks' trip turned into 3 thanks to typhoid :D. And now we 4 will end the year with a bang!

There was a particular professional gain I was looking for which went down to the dumps. I am not sure when it can be revived again. I also has some financial losses with both my cell phone and wallet getting stolen. But I will choose to ignore them and remember the trips I took up with K be it Mysore, Ooty, Hampi or Goa, the time I spent with family, the work I did and all the other good parts.

Here hoping everyone who stumbles by this post remembers 2009 as a good year but what use are the bad parts except giving heartaches. And heres hoping 2010 is 10 times better!! Have a utterly butterly happy NEW YEAR!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A very special weekend

I have been meaning to write this post since a veryyyyy long time. (As I have been meaning to read all the posts in my google reader :( But not been able to manage the time. I intend to read each and every unread post - not that it matters the world to the writers :D)

This year after a span of 9 years, I was with my parents on my birthday. Luckily that time was also the end of days for the typhoid attack. The day preceding my birthday, which was a friday, the doctor had recommended leaving the only liquid diet and switching to some light solid stuff. And some switch I made by having a chicken submarine. My mom, aghast at my loss of weight (moms have this weird tendency to magnify their kids weight loss and big time underplay the gargantuan weight gains) coaxed to have 2 subs! But I literally had to scream at her to make her stop from chocking me with food. We also bought some delightful chocolate cookies and brownies. After the pet puja the rest of the evening was spent doing some birthday shopping :)

The next day - the birthday - started early with calls from friends and relatives. And one hellova chocolate cake from dad! I feasted on the cake like I had been kept off food for years. As with all member of the fairer gender, shopping is not something which reaches its threshold soon. So there were lots and lots more stuff to be bought and off went mom and I for another round of shopping. We started at 1130 in the morning and by the time we got back home it was 1800 hours! Women get some divine stamina when it comes to shopping :D After the humongous shopping was done, it was time to get home, refresh and pack for the coming day when I had to leave for Chennai. After being there for 3 weeks, it did feel weird to pack. But some things got to be done.

The next day I started back. Back to my home. I would feel out of place for a long time in Chennai and every single thing would make me feel nostalgic. I would miss my parents at the slightest pretext. The solace was the fact, within two weeks my time, my mother would be coming over to meet her daughters.....


(The cake dad got... being his typical self, he forgot to write my name on the cake :D )

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now for the gory part *evil*

While at my parent's place, I loved every bit of the time. The lack of routine, wake up when you want, food always being ready, tv remote always being with me :) One thing I was relished this time was my mom's hot champi. I let the oil soak in over night and had a luxurious head bath the following day. But after a couple of hours of that, I started feeling a bit uneasy. Since I had just recovered from a fever, I was doubly worried. Instantly in went a crocin and I felt better in some time. It was the fateful Wednesday when I had to attend the distant cousin's wedding. I had no appetite there. Once back, it was one more crocin for me and mummy's tight hug for a good night's sleep. Strangely next morning around 9 the fever was back. Thursday night when the fever came it came in with a heavy bout of shivering, I decided, there was no way I was making a return trip the coming Sunday. Friday we made a visit to the doc who to nail the usual suspects gave in some usual tests.

When the test results came back in the evening, he suspected some kind of kidney infection :O So he asked us to go in for some more cultures. In the meanwhile, he prescribed some real heavy duty anti biotics. Now the culture results take a good 72 hours to come up. It would be no sooner than Tuesday that we would be getting the report back. My mom was getting worried by the day. The fever used to come with real bad shivering and body aches. The temperature would start with a measly 100 and within 15 minutes peak to a 103-104. The symptoms were akin to malaria too. She got in touch with a uncle of mine, who is also a doc, and asked in case it might be malaria. This time, the malaria test had come negative. But that had been the case last time too, though it was a dosage of quinine only which had brought the fever down. My uncle said, quinine would not harm the anti biotics and he prescribed the dosage of quinine to be taken. So for 4 days I was taking something like 15 pills per day. Morning mom would wake me and give the antacid and the anti vomitting pills (Quinine causes vomitting) (2). I had to take 4 anti biotics per day (2+4=6) Then the 2 quinine pills (6+2=8) 2 more lacto bacillus pills to prevent acidity. (8+2 =10) And the usual B complex tabs (phew 11 ) Plus my body would be ravaged by the fever 4 times in a day mandating the consumption of crocin and bringing the pill count to 15. It was really frustrating to see absolutely no improvement over a span of 5 days. Even the quinine course had not yielded any results.

What saddened me most was the pain of my mom. She was always at my beck and call, massaging my sore back, rubbing the stomach aches, applying balm on the head. To worsen things, I got a cramp in my left shoulder due to the shivering. So there was my mom putting hot water packs too. I was very fussy about food, and even to make me have one morsel, she was out there in kitchen making anything, just about anything I might find palatable. She would be up all night responding to each sigh of mine though she had to be up early morning for the normal household chores. Once I caught her crying when she was praying and I could not stand it. It was just not fair to have her endure so much pain through her child. I just prayed and prayed that I get well soon, atleast for her sake.

Finally on Wednesday when the culture results came back, it was all sterile. Which meant the first results were wrong to start with. Evening we went up to the pathologist and decided to start on a fresh note - which implied a fresh set of tests. When finally the results came on Thursday, it was diagnosed as typhoid :| Luckily for me, the anti biotics that had been prescribed earlier would work good for typhoid as well. But I was to be under the medication for a week more and on restricted diet - no spicy or oily food, no roughage, mostly liquid or semi solid diet. I again extended my stay by a week more. Ironically, my condition improved the very next day. But the stomach aches were persistent which the doctor said would subside only once the intestinal wounds were healed.

I had a huge pending workload staring down at me. The insensitive brutes at office had the audacity to ask status reports from someone who was nearly bed ridden.... seriously the corporate culture does suck away the human aspect from people. But then I was at peace since I was at home. I could just walk into the balcony and smell the flowers to feel better. I would put my lazy feet up in the sunshine with a worn novel in hand and feel so happy. I would take a walk around the house and forget every care. Since my wedding vacation, this was the only time, I got 3 weeks at my parent's place. For that matter even during the wedding vacation, I was with my parents for 10 days only. Maybe God devises strange ways to keep people together. Whatever happens does happen for the very good.

Now that I am finally going to leave Bhubaneswar the coming Sunday, it kind of saddens me. Even my parents are also coming to terms with the fact that I am finally going back to Chennai. Its never enough with the parents :( Heres hoping for one more long trip back at Bhubaneswar..........



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maika*!

*Parent's home for a married Indian woman


There is no place like maika for any Indian woman. It is better than candlelit dinner with the husband, gossiping with friends and even shopping for shoes! And thats the place I made a trip to on the 21st of November. It was an impromptu decision. There were lots of push and pulls. One push was my parents were getting immensely lonely with both the kids out of the nest. But one major pull was I had a go-live in December. I could not ask for leaves. One push were there were flights from Chennai to BBSR!! While the counter pull was K was not able to get leaves and I would again need to go alone. Finally I gave in to the pushes and booked the tickets :) I did not manage to get any leaves and had to keep working from home. The project was in a decent enough shape, so I was not so worried about it.

The flight which should take 2 hours uncannily made it in 1hour 40 mins :) So even before my parents had reached to pick me I was already there. Coincidentally I met a colleague of mine who was on his wedding vacation. He was supposed to have started the previous day but ticket problems stopped him and he ended up taking the last moment flight. Chit chatting with him in my mother tongue, feeling the tinge of chill in air as I stepped out and seeing the good ol' Konark Chakra motif at the entrance, I could not have felt more at home :)

To top my joy was the shiny new black dad's Swift Dzire! After getting home and dumping my stuff, I did what I do best - slept!

Next day was a trip to my granny's place. Meeting up with the whole bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles. I still get celebrity status there, being the eldest grandchild and the now being the only grandchild married and that too in a Tam family, I am till date questioned about my daily routine and stuff like that! None the less its fun. Food that followed was simply out of the world.

This time being at home was a bit different, with sissy not around. The house was a bit more silent. I also saw mom and dad having gotten involved into separate routines, one involving their own books, their own tv shows and their own household chores. How much change children bring to a house! Since it was a bit quiter, I was a bit more observant of things. I noticed K's first perfume bottle , a gift from UK still being there (though empty :) ), my best friend's long given gift - some 9 years old, posters and novels, as old as the hills - seriously only ones maika will have these treasures. There is a memory attached to every simple thing that one does. While sitting and talking to K on the balcony I was reminded of how we used to talk some 5 years ago. Things were so different then. While taking out the blankets for drying in the sun, I was reminded how sis would always insist on taking out the thicker blanket even if it was not that chill. While seeing some old clothes, I was reminded, I used to wear them for college some years back! Which in turn brings in a fresh flood of memories.

The most unexpected part was, I was to attend a wedding of a distant cousin. His father also happened to be my dad's colleague. So there were a lot of old colleagues of my dad invited. There, everyone was so amazed to see me! Many uncles had taught me in college! Some were neighbors when we stayed at Rourkela long time back. I had changed a lot since those days, and everyone was pleasantly surprised to see me. Even I felt top of the world meeting so many old faces...And attending a proper Odia reception is something! I was too used to the Tam style of the normal food being served in the traditional way. But here we had pani puri, chicken tikkas, fish fingers, and the entire array of veg, non veg and Chinese dishes! That too spread over a sprawling lawn with corny Hindi movie numbers like Bole choodiyan and Tujh main rab dikhta hai in the background. Hehe it was some fun.

I was enjoying to the hilt..... But then some things are too good to last :(


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Danke!

And why did I choose the particular word? Well call it the QT effect :D. I happened to watch Inglorious Basterds over the weekend. (The 14th November weekend. This blog took a lot of time to shape up :( ) It is a must watch movie - I would rate it as the best of the year! Yep after Kill Bill this is yet another fare which completely blew me over.

But I am not out here to thank Mr. Quentin for making a movie which is simply beyond words. The Thanks is for my dear sis and the K :) Yep, over the weekend I was down with fever. Viral fever to be precise. And some fever it was. It kicked in on Thursday evening. When the temperature used to come, it used send such chills that I could barely stand. My palms and feet would turn numb and the only thing I could do was lie down. What scared me most was I anticipated a repeat of this. Another bout of malaria was of course not something I wanted in another decade. So I was pro active and started popping the pills well in time. Moreover my sis was supposed to make a trip, and we had oh so many plans. I did not want even one of them to go awry. So there I was taking medicines, taking fluids, taking rest and praying fervently that I be well before she lands in Chennai.

But then when something can go wrong it does go wrong, does nt it? So the fever never came down, but God did send the pouring rains on Saturday morning. With rains being so adamant, the TV and the washing machine decided that they might as well go on a French leave. So there we were with blasting rains, a sick wife, no mom in law to lend a helping hand and 2 of the most important appliances kaput. After receiving sissy dear, K and she got on with the household chores like a house on fire :). There was K on one side,arranging the house, soaking the clothes and washing them off with his bare hands. Sis on the other hand was on with the kitchen chopping, cooking and the whole nine yards. Before 11 all the stuff was done and we were set for the movie. Thankfully the crocin worked before the movie and I was sentient for the entire 2 and half hours. But no sooner had we come than I started getting the shivers again. Sis made the most amazing maggie and then I popped another pill and hit the bed at 1700. I woke only at 1930 to find my kiddo sis blissfully curled round me in sweet somber :)

I was feeling much better and chose to watch "Everybody loves Raymond" with K before retiring at around 2100. And the best part was my sis slept through the night. Poor thing, she has so much work and studying at her work place, that she had barely managed 4 hours of sleep per day for a week. So she slept straight 15 hours when she got the chance! Thank God she slept that much cos the next day the responsibility of all the cooking waited for her since I was feeling no better. She had turned into a very nice cook in fact. After eating the lovely lunch she made, we all slept like logs.

Before we realised it was evening and it was time to bid goodbye to her. Last time when she had come, it was barely for a day. Still we had so much fun. But this time all she did was take care of my house and massage my head, run errands for me and do a zillion and one things. She reminded me of the the joy of having family when one is ill. Nothing can match my moms tender loving care. My sis though came a close second. And K who in his normal form is not so demonstrative of his love, was so considerate. He even went to the length of taking leave the following Monday to take care of me (on second thoughts it was more to watch Primal Fear and True Romance :X) I made it through from the fever so much quicker just for the 2 of them. Thank you both so much!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chayya bina jiya jaaye naa :(


Thats what people in Chennai call a cup of tea - chayya. Its one of the beverages I love and can have any quantity at any time. My love affair with tea began since I was very young under the tutelage of my father. Yes you read it correct - my father. My mom makes a tea which is close to in-consumable for me. Its bitter. She makes a real hard drink of the poor tea leaves :( While my dad savors the tasty version - you know the one with lots of milk, just right sugar, some cardamom and ginger for sure. That is what he asked me to make one day, since mom was not around. I happened to taste my own creation just for the heck of it (My mom rues the fact that she is such a hard core addict of tea. Its the petrol she needs at least thrice a day; earlier it used to be five times! She always wanted to keep her children out of this dreaded addiction). But that day, when I tasted that divinely aromatic drink - I fell in love with it. Till date, its one thing I never ever say no to. Though kudos to my mom, she so fervently wished that we should nt be tea addicts, that till date neither my sister nor I am addicted to tea.

Now, why on earth am I blabbering all this? Well, it is cos, this very thing I love- has been made a paid thingy in my office!!!!! Imagine no more free tea. We got to buy it! I would not mind spending 4 odd rupees and getting a good cuppa. But the tea that is being dished out is so lame, it barely fills a paper cup and the tea bags seem to have lost all aroma. I do reiterate that I am no addict to tea. In spite of it, tea drinking is like a ritual. An excuse to move from the desk, some time to relax and give those sore neck and legs some motion, and on cold rainy days like Chennai is having right now, it feels divine to sip that warm cup. But sadly, that cup is now where :(

When the email was first sent out that there would be no more free tea from SRK's birthday onward, the mango people thought "Oh! come on this won t be possible to implement. Anyways everyone will go to have tea outside office which will result in man hours wasted which would in turn force the non mango people to roll back the idea." There was a seething of a revolt, the jitne bhi tu kar le sitam hans hans ke sahenge hum types attitude. I felt as if I was part of a an andolan, an important satyagraha. There were some emails floated to garner support and the public forums were replete with messages with some employees becoming demi Gods with their innovative ideas. But then, nothing moved the bade logs.

Finally the day came, one cold rainy chill morning here. The day sans tea. Ideas were afloat again. Black tea, hot water, getting tea from homes in thermos flasks, going to the houses of folks staying near office and having tea (ready to pay them also if they were insistent) and many many more. But then black tea is not equal to tea. Hot water is OF Course not equal to tea. Getting tea from homes - thoda zyaada ho gaya. Going to folks staying near office - not that besharam :( So Day1 we decided to go out and have tea and check the turn around time. Day1 it was 35 minutes. Day 2 new shop - it was 55 minutes. Day 3 - It rained so hard, we had to buy the tea at office. But then how long can this continue? Slowly I see some satyagrahis succumbing and yes, in the long run I wonder how I can hold on. So though sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab humare dil main hai not much zor will power main hai :'(

PS. Did not have the patience to translate the Hindi text - apologies if it is majorly incomprehensible to many.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This and that

Has been quite some time since I updated my blog. There was nothing of importance which made me think or pen down my thoughts. But there sure were some or other stuff happening. All the time I used to think, I have to write this in my blog, I have to write that in my blog. And so here are the thiss' and thats' :)

  • We got a car. Yea finally. Its an Indica vista gala red hottie :) It was the end of a long drawn search. I don't think there was any brand we left in the small car segment. There was a lot of perusal of online reviews, motoring sites and consultation with people with experience. Ultimately we settled down for this make which promises to "change everything" - cos this is the one which fitted K's obnoxiously long legs. It had everything we wanted - more or less a 5 seater, with steering height adjustment, enough space so that even after K has pushed the driver's seat, there is enough space for people in the rear, good stable structure and decent mileage. Yea we were advised against the buy with the most heard suggestion being - its more of a taxi car. But then our counter was - if something is so popular for commercial use, it should be a more than safe bet for personal use. And yea - I did look longingly at the tubby Maruti Swift (it did not give much driver space for K), K did wish i10 was a bit bigger (it more or less a 4 seater car) and we both gave a Chevy Spark a miss for the same reason (it being a 4 seater). But now this thing is for the keeps, while we both are on fine tuning our driving in traffic.
  • My sister made a trip to Chennai and boy was it great. She was here for a day, but the girls day out with her was simply amazing. One full day was spent in shopping and loitering around. When we both get together we don't just shop, we splurge. That's what we did this time around too. We scouted the entire Spencer Plaza and enhanced our wardrobe as well as shoe rack :) Ah! The joys of spending :D
  • A friend of mine made a monumental move in her life, a move to move on to family mode. She did it after a lot of struggle and strife. But end of day her determination prevailed and she moved on. She and I share the same sun sign, so inherently we have somehow understood each other. And I completely understood the step she took, for the one she loved and I wish the best of all for her new life ahead. But with her being gone, one of my tightest bonds with one of the cities I love the most, has been severed :(
  • Just 2 more months to go for the year to end, I am kind of in a reminiscent as well as planning mode. Hope everything I know and wish as well as everything unknown but destined happens for the good.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The thing about Diwali



There is something about Diwali (and Dussera too). It does something to the atmosphere around. The changes are so palpable. The weather takes a turn towards chillness. People are nostalgic about home, people take vacations no matter what ( my sisters colleagues have no leaves since they are in training period and they don't earn very high bucks either. But just for one day to be with family on Diwali, they have taken flights spending nearly half their monthly salaries and gone home! )It makes you want to be with your loved ones. It makes people scoot from office early. It makes you feel like cooking something special in spite of having slogged at office for good 9 hours. Everyone wishing the other person a happy Diwali just spreads the cheer magically. I am not sure if thats the case with everyone, but I feel so festively happy! As they say we should search for excuses to be happy - I do so oh so often.

Last year Diwali was my first one after marriage. The first Diwali after wedding is a very highlighted affair in TamilNadu. But I must confess, it started off on a very bad note for the lack of education. I had no idea, how differently it is celebrated in TamilNadu compared to back at my paternal place in Orissa. At my parents place, the whole day is spent in decorating the house and keeping things ready for the big bang in the evening. We spend the day fishing for diyas, counting the number of them still preserved from the past years, asking dad to scurry and get some more, deciding on which design to put the diyas and the rangoli in, helping mom in cooking the yummiliciuos breakfast, lunch and dinner. I always remember the night before Diwali we all deciding on the elaborate menus. We sisters were never of much help, but we used to keep talking around the kitchen and generally giving my mom company while she sweated over the dishes. Food and talks in the morning and evening would be spent on the veranda and terrace placing the diyas and then it would be cracker time! See...... this is what Diwali does.... makes you feel so nostalgic.

But last year, since I was not aware, how Diwali starts in TamilNadu before the break of dawn, there was a bit of upset emotions at home. And morning does show the day, so there was nothing to write home about for the entire day. There were forced smiles and uneasy reconciliations. But then, people learn. Last year I was a newbie, still adjusting to the symphony played here( I had read this analogy in some other blog and borrowed it :) ) This year, I was ready with my own composition apart from being ready to do my part for the original orchestra. I took my own time and space and got ready in the morning. We were invited for lunch to K's aunt's house. On the way back, I bought diyas (its not a tradition out here to light diyas on Diwali - they do so on another day called Karthik Deepam I guess ) . But then, a little extra celebration does not hurt at all. So all armed with the diyas and rangoli colors, I set forth in the evening to celebrate Diwali as I know it. Made some patterns on the balcony and the front door and places those lovely diyas. It is really heartening to see the diyas fight out the winds and stay aflame - it fills me with a very positive vibe. The words tamasoma jyotir gamaya (from darkness let us move to light) subconsciously keeps reverberating in my mind. The icing on the cake came when one neighbor aunty came and said "Perfect blend of north and south, only this apartment is lighted with all these small diyas and looks very cute from a distance." I had an ear to ear grin :D

Decorations done, I caught up with friends and family. What if we are not together, we should use technology to the max. For that matter since early morning K and I were making lots of calls. Evening I spoke with some very close friends and my mom and sister for hours on end. Dinner was parathas with curd and I made some extra coconut laddus to carry to office. (Diwali makes you put in that extra effort right?)An early end to the spirited day gave me the most rested feeling. Next year, I plan a bigger better evening. More sweets, more intricate designs, more savories, more time with my family.

It was a good Diwali, touchwood. And people I cared for had a good Diwali. I was concerned for a friend of mine who was all alone. But then, when I called and checked up with her, she had surprise company. My sister who was away from home for the first time, was also doing fine. The world does hold a mirror to ones own thoughts.

I hope all my readers had a wonderful Diwali. And here s wishing you all lots of good times ahead.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Different experience same nostalgia

Last year I had written this* about how difficult it was to get back to normal pace of life after the Dussera vacations last year.

I would be holding a hazy mirror to the same scenario with this post of mine.
This time my parents made a trip to Chennai - not so much for me but for my darling sis who was coping with work and who has no vacations for 8 long months. The day they reached, ironically again, I had a major career move's decision date. I was anticipating the worst, the thing to go haywire, the whole plan to fall like a pack of cards and all my preparations to go in utter waste, and that - is exactly what happened. (Again just like last year when I had planned something important one day before the date of travel)This time, I was the least bit disappointed. I was rather thrilled, as I hopped into the auto rickshaw from office to scurry home at 1130. I could barely control my eagerness. When I reached home my mom squealed in delight. When mil asked about the result and I said "failed" with the biggest smile on earth, she was so puzzled :) But then who gave a darn to darn work when family was around.

K also had taken leave on the day just to be with everyone. It was a very pleasant day with all of us sitting and chatting and having loads and loads of coffee. Papa loves the Chennai brand filter coffee and will never say no when offered one. When he has a cup it takes a lot of will power to resist having a cup for others. So all of us ended up having nearly 4 cups of coffee each day and those too at very weird moments. One time we had at 1430 in the afternoon! Evening was full of sporadic visits to neighbors and then a trip to the temple. Mom and dad started off the night to Mysore to be with kiddo sis.

I could barely wait for the 4 days to get over when they would be back from Mysore. Since mom had a conference at Cochin the very next week they had planned to be at Chennai. Dad was to proceed to BBSR from here and mom to Cochin. Those 4 days when they were at Mysore passed at snail's pace for me. My sister felt they went away too soon - hmm relativity of time always works. Finally on one fine Wednesday morning they were back :) Mil was supposed to start on that day on a 15 day pilgrimage. So it more like my parents and us. It felt as if I was at my paternal home at BBSR rather than being in Chennai. My mom took complete control of the cooking just like she does back at her home. She did not allow me to step in (though I did to show off my culinary prowess to my dad :) ) It was really endearing to be taken care of by my mommy. My dad built up his own routine out here. They were to stay for 5 days with us - so he took to walking on the beach, he would fetch the vegetables and any immediate groceries, he would run itsy bitsy errands. In fact in a kid like fashion he used to ask if anything was over in the house so that he could make a quick trip to the nearby shops. Mom and I used to think, the shopkeepers were going to miss Papa once he left for BBSR.

To be with my parents as much as I can, I stopped going to they gym and being there for an hour. And to add fuel to the fire, my mom got preparing authentic Oriya delicacies. I did not intend to curtail myself at all to the awesome treat. I gave two hoots to weight, to my struggling dietitian (shes completely puzzled at the resilience of the fat content of my body) and to my gym instructor ( she still dreads the day she took me under her wing - I am a black mark on her appraisal document :( )I let my tongue have a ball and made my stomach work the hardest digesting all the food :) Ah! It does feel very very good to break all the rules :D :D

All the days I felt enveloped in a warmth which only and only parents can give. One day we 3 went out for shopping and it seriously felt like old times at BBSR. My parents paying up for everything, mom and I insistent of having road side food, dad barring us from having them, us still having them inspite of his objections, buying junk jewelery, marauding sarees at the famous stores around T.Nagar - we filled an entire evening with togetherness. My mom and I many a times used to venture out just like that for a long walk and street side shopping (Dad was too busy with cricket matches to care for a walk). All the while I did have a heckling thought though - I was going to be miserable when they leave. But till they were here, I postponed feeling sad.

And when they did leave, it felt no different. Felt no different from the way I had felt when I had left BBSR last year after the puja vacations. This time the tables were just a bit turned - it was my turn to come back to an empty house after seeing off my parent. My turn to see no more luggages on the room. My turn to see no extra clothes on the clothes wire. My turn to be alone in the kitchen, to be alone reading the paper and also having the coffee. Everything seemed purposeless and so insubstantial. I miss you both......


*( Ironically in the post, I had used the word 'home' for my parent's place in Bhubaneswar and used the word 'house' for our place in Chennai. I am not a person to make such mistakes, but then sometimes the sub conscious is more powerful I suppose. Last year, since I was a novice at married life, I was yet to cut the umbilical I guess)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enough adventure for a day - Hampi Day1 Episode 2

We started screaming and scooting towards the parked ferry. The ferry driver acknowledged our pleas and did say something in return. But still we were not sure if what he said was "Ok I am waiting for you guys. Thank God K is blessed with long legs :) He was able to cover a lot of ground quickly and make it to the ferry first. He was followed by Sam. Wearing a pair of slippers which were breathing their last, I was the last one to be scurrying towards the shores. A little before the ferry was parked, was 3 metres of sludge and mud. K was totally in touch with the elements and gleefully waded through it. In fact seeing him from a distance, I never gauged, the mud was so slippery and well .. so muddy :) I was also fine, just concerned about my track pants which were getting dirty ( We had shoe string supply of clothes :) ) But the funniest sight was poor Sam whose precious Lee Coopers were getting a savage treatment.

Somehow we reached the ferry (the ordeal of those 3 metres seemed NEVER ending to me honestly) Once there, I blissfully remarked "Phew! Enough adventure for a day I think"

Once we reached the banks of the river, we got an auto and asked him to take us to any of the guest houses there. We had heard of Rahul guest house being a decent one and decided to check that out first. It ended up being fully occupied. We checked out a couple more and the good ones were taken (always happens be it guest houses or men :D ). Guest houses in Hampi have a strange way of working. Mostly they are houses with some of the rooms being converted to guest rooms. Most of the common space might even be shared with the original inmates of the house. All of these guest houses are located within a close circumference of the river banks. Since the guest houses were not so palatable for us, we asked the auto rickshaw driver to take us to some hotel. He said the hotel there was a government recognised hotel. We travelled nearly 8 kms to reach hote Mayura Bhubaneswari which looked more like a ruin in itself. The front desk person was a typical goverment memsaab. When asked if there were any rooms free, she first vehemently denied. When we urged her if there is ANYthing at all, any sort of room, she showed us a 4 seater. I felt pretty suffocated in there. There was absolutely no ventilation and since there was no electricity as well, it seemed more like a dungeon. We went up to the lady and said, the room was not good enough. Then she said, the presidential suite was there - 5600 bucks!! K was so worn out with the whole affair of searching for a hotel room, that he was game for taking it up. Seeing his enthusiasm, Sam and I were also inching towards taking it up. Then we asked, if we could be shown that room. And that room was a wow!! It was toooo plush. It was very very tempting. But 2 things hit us back - it was exhorbitantly priced - the acco charge was not even what we had spent entirely on the trip till now - and, there would be power cuts in that room also. Come on if we were paying that kind of money, the least we could expect was electricity. So we left the whole idea and went up to the auto driver and asked him to take us to some other hotel.

And wonder of wonders, he said that was the only hotel!! Sam was getting ballistic by this time and was very edgy. She insisted to the auto driver to take us to a nice guest house, which would be having electricity supply. The auto driver promised he would take us to a good place. Driving the entire 8 kms back, we came to the same guest house zone. There the auto driver took us through the most dingy by lanes and brought us to a guest house. The owner here seemed very very snobbish. We had a hell of a lot of heckling to do to get a room with one extra mattress. It was already 1900 by then. He was insistent that we check out at 0900 the next morning. ( This is a standard norm in Hampi. All the hotels and guest houses insist on checking out at 9 in the morning) Paying 1k for a stay of hardly a night was not something we were not willing to buy. But beggars cannot be choosers so reluctantly we agreed. As we were settling in the room, suddenly he came up with the form. The form kinda had a declaration of what all we were possessing and that we would take responsibility of whatever was with us. Till then it was fine, the next thing the hotel owner stated that we had to get the declaration signed at the nearest police station. Now that made us loose it. We were simply not ready to go to the police station of all the places. We started yelling at the hotel owner( God only knows what all we yelled in which language :) ) Then we stomped out of the place and threateningly requested the auto rickshaw driver to take us to a 'decent' place. I don't know why we were venting it all on him, poor thing, he did not have the divine responsibility to take care of us. But then the poor man brought us out from the dingy lanes where he had initially placed us. Once out in broader roads, we happened to see yet another guest house. We decided might as well check this out.

The owner of this guest house happened to be a very courteous man. He was also insistent on the check out at 0900hours timing and getting the declaration stuff signed at the police station, but he said that with a smile, with humility and with hospitality which was endearing. We agreed to his conditions (strangely I think he completely missed getting the declaration signed from us.) and ended up paying for 2 days stay. But we were happy with the place. It was a strange place to be honest. Pity I do not have any pictures of the place. It was located some 50 meters from the river banks and had a pleasant wind wafting through it. The room we took was the very first room of the guest house, it was just 4 steps away from the street. As an afterthought Sam and I felt, how accessible it was to an outsider if the good for nothing grill gates were not closed. But since it was so close to the street the room had the lion's share of the wind. The room was very cornily painted in a strawberry pink color and had some clumsy stuffed toys and a broken clay parrot for decoration :D There were shops selling funky wares around it and there were quite a few coffee joints and eateries around.

Once we had our luggage nicely parked, we went went ahead in search of dinner. We placed ourselves at the dinner lounge at 1930hours and trust me we came out at 2230hours. Yep, thats true, 3 solid hours. Thats the pace at which things proceed in Hampi. The problem what I felt was the cuisine is too exotic for any preparations to be made ahead of time. One may have absolutely no idea what the customer might order when the menu hosts things from pasta to pancakes to parathas to puddings to pizza and plethora of things. It ranges from continental to oriental to mexican and american. All of the items are available at all the times and the restaurants are grossly understaffed at times. Hence things are bound to take a verrrry slow pace. But while we had 3 hours, we chatted a lot. It was nice to see Sam and K bonding. They are both a number 7 (born on the 7th day of a month) and somehow I had felt, their innate similarity had repelled them from each other initially. Never had they been able to establish a rapport with each other. During this trip somehow, the time they had, gave them a chance to see beyond the initial judgmental attitude to delve into how alike they were from a point. Neither of them is a person who can make another comfortable in their company easily. So with time, they grew comfortable with each other. I was a mere listener to their conversations and thoroughly enjoyed their increasing friendship.

As soon as we reached our rooms, we retired, since we had opted for an early morning tour in the same auto rickshaw driver who had droven us around.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Did someone say adventure? Hampi Day1 Episode1

I was totally unprepared for Hampi and boy how unprepared was I!

Alighting at the Hospet station, we had to take an auto rickshaw to get to the Tungabhadra river banks. Our idea was to cross the river and get an accommodation on the "other side" of the river. Sam had visited the place before and she was more or less the tour operator. As we were going, I was able to catch a glimpse of some of the ruins. Being a history buff myself, I was getting too excited to get up close and personal with the archeological sites.When we inquired the auto rickshaw driver as to the ferry timings for taking to the "other side "of the river, he said, they exist from 6 am to 6pm. Now when Sam had come before the ferry ran till 2000 hours. Having the services cut 2 hours prior would not be a bit tight in case we wanted to roam around a bit more. When we reached the river banks, Sam said, we would relax for the day come to this side to see the ruins the next day. I said, we could give the day to visit the sites on the "other side". Then she said, there was nothing much on the "other side", it just gives the laid back feel thanks to the cottages and huts. Whatever I had read about Hampi, never gave me the picture that there was nothing of importance on the other side of the river. Somehow all websites and blogs and travel portals I visited gave me a feel that the ruins were equally dispersed on both sides of the river. I felt a bit crestfallen, because I am a touring tourist :) Rest is not my idea when I come to a place like Hampi for sure. But when I learnt that on the "other side "of the river, rest was what was primarily done, I felt disappointed. But then I was a bit curious as to what lay on the "other side", so did not want to spoil the plan to cross the river either.

The ferry that came up was a motor boat to be precise and a pretty decrepit one at that. Once we reached the "other side", we were hounded by people advertising their cottages/hotels. We checked a few and then got into Hema cottages. They are small huts, cottages is a pretty fancy name I think for the amenities they have. You get the bare minimum, cots, fan and a bathroom and if you regard network for your cell phone and electricity as bare minimum - you do NOT get them. Yep, its a veritable village and many things we city breds take so much for granted are unknown there. There is a daily power cut from 8 in the morn till noon and again from 5 in the evening till 8. In between it has its whims and fancies and comes and goes at will. I was a bit taken aback by this wanton electricity supply. None the less we somehow refreshed and went ahead for breakfast to a nearby hotel.

The "other side" as this side of the river is called is a proper hippies getaway. Here lot of foreigner especially Israelis abound. And there is a slow pace with which things go on. The food here is divine and we did gorge on some awesome continental and Israeli cuisine. But all the while I was yearning for the history that I was missing :( So I said it might be a better idea if rather than staying till the next day in the guest house, if we checked out in the evening and crossed the river. That way we would be able to start early on the coming day and complete the share of sight seeing. Sam was more inclined to taking the lazy way out and being on this side of the river, generally relaxing, eating good food and spending the time doing nothing. K played the perfect devil's advocate and said, If we were going to check out of the guest house, rather than waiting very long, it would be better if we did so sooner, like 4-5 in the afternoon so that we would have time in hand to search for hotels. Else if we decided to stay on this side itself, it would be better to check out around 12 the next day so that we would do some sight seeing at least. He was like coming that far and not doing any sight seeing at all might not make much sense. After a lot of debating we decided, we would finish breakfast, go for a cycle ride and check the ruins that lay on this side, come back, refresh, finish a late lunch and cross the river.


Breakfast done, we started on the cycle trek. We had an awesome time! There was a gentle breeze flowing and we had the sun screaming down on us. We were sweating like proper rustic folks and we were getting one hellova tan too. The hand beyond the shirt sleeves were nearly turning black! But it was some feeling. At points when the road was a downward slope and we did not need to paddle, wow! When we were all drenched in sweat and suddenly there would be a waft of cool wind, bliss! On the way a bunch of school kids hi-fived us, suweeeet! We intermittently stopped under shaded parts to rejuvinate and gulp some water. K at one point got rid of his tshirt and used it as a turban - a la pukka rural tam ishytle, and Sam and I were sure jealous of him. But we urged him not to strip further cos he was not a proud possessor of the body like those Israeli hunks ;) He teased back saying, we were not any close to the damsels either else we too would have started shedding. The banter thus went on and we had no idea how far we had cycled. We had reached a village called Anegondi - which K insisted on calling Anaconda :D

At that point we decided to just turn back and head home. It was a 50 mins solid ride home. On the way, we just stopped at a point where the river was a bit shallow and went down. It was divine to soak our tired feet into the cold water.

This time we gave a ride to another group of school kiddos who were walking back home. In a nearby stall we all shared some soft drinks with the kids.

Once we returned to the guest house, we realised how very tired we were and how very tanned we were :) It was already 1500hours. By the time 3 of us freshened up and headed for the place for lunch it was 45 minutes past. Now as I had said, the "other side" of Hampi is for lazing around. We made it very clear to the waiter, that we had only an hour to spare since we did nt want to be late for the ferry. We ordered stuff which would get ready sooner. But inspite of our urging him to move things faster, inspite of our coaxing and threatening to cancel the order, by the time we got done it was 1730. Everyone else was sipping their beers, smoking their cigarettes, lolling on the mattresses as if they had alllll the time in the world. And we three were gulping our food as if we were having a heart attacwith K giving the time by the second. At a point I said "Stop it! The wall clock is right in front of me and I see the darn thing ticking and moreover I wear a wrist watch too which you dont and I am inclined to seeing that and getting more NERVOUS!"

We scrammed out of the place and ran towards the river bank. It was 1750 then. We saw the ferry being parked a bit further, not in the designated place. Dont know what sadistic pleasure the ferry drivers get by making their customer wade through ankle deep mud when they can very well park in drier places. One good old man showed us a narrow pathway to get to the ferry. It was very narrow, a bit unsafe and slippery(because of people having walked on it with wet feet) and steep downward incline. With Sam and I having 2 heavy backpacks and K a travel bag, we started climbing down.

We had climbed some paces only when we heard the engine of the ferry rev up. We got franctic. Sam and I started shouting Bhaiyya! Bhaiyya! and started flailing our arms to make the boatman stop....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The kickoff - Project Hampi

I am alive and kicking :) And Renu, it was immensely sweet of you to come up to my blog and ask how come I had gone invisible. Thank you so very much :) That was a very warm gesture.

Now that I am back, I am going to mow down my readers with some very very long posts (*evil laugh*). Yep, and this is going to be a part by part post - the current one being part1 :)

September is a real sweet month this year. It comes with 2 extended weekends back to back. First a holiday on 21st for Eid, the next on 28th for Dussera and then October joins forces to give 2nd October as a holiday. K and I were looking forward to a vacation during one of these extended weekends. But for some reason or the other, the plans always used to go kaput. Then one afternoon during a casual call my friend Sam said she was going to Hampi on a 3 day trip. She was generally cribbing about one of her friends having ditched her, which would compel her to travel alone from Bangalore to Hospet - and Hospet not being a very bright place, she was a bit jittery about making the trip alone. At Hospet she would have been joined by another friend of hers from Hyderabad.

When I heard the plan itself, something kicked in me to ask K to join in as well. We had been making and breaking vacation plans, cancelling and redoing train tickets and were in a whole lot of mess when it was coming to travelling. I was having my reservations when I went ahead and asked K if we could plan on a trip to Hampi. But I was amazed to get a whole hearted thumbs up from him! Now first hurdle crossed, we had to check tickets! Cos the due date was just 2 weeks away and that being a holiday time, people would be flocking like crazy to the place. And we had a big set of tickets to be made yet again - Chennai->Bangalore, Bangalore->Hospet(closest station to Hampi), Hospet->Bangalore, Bangalore->Chennai. Now if God unwilling any thing went awry, it would need 8 tickets to be cancelled. Still, we thought, lets give it a shot.

As I had said in one of my previous posts, 2 weeks is a long enough time for many things to change. And in this case too they did. The other friend of Sam's who was supposed to come had to cancel her tickets since she had some emergency and Sam decided to return with us rather than staying an extra day as was her initial intention. For her it would have been a trip that would nt have happened if K and I had nt booked our tickets. Its strange the way providence ties people up :)

Strangely the day before the trip both Sam and I were pretty restless. Sam has been my oldest friend- one since school. She and I connect very easily. And we both having the same feeling on a day prior to the travel was pretty uncanny. We tried to reason as to why we were feeling that way. Maybe it was because, it was a very impromptu trip for which neither of us was 100% prepared, or maybe it was because we were a bit bothered by the fact that we would be away from work for 4 days, or it was because she had a different perception of how the trip was going to be and with K and I coming into the picture, it might be a paradigm change or maybe it was because I who always loves to plan out every bit of a vacation was not able to gather much info before the travel was feeling a bit less prepared. We were not sure if it was a bit of all these feelings or any thing else which we were not able to figure out at all. None the less, we tried to keep the pace of normal work and some how tide over that one day before 4 days of vacation began.

The journey to Bangalore was good but once I hit the bed at Sam's place, I realised how exhausted I was - cos I slept 3 hours straight. I could have slept more if Sam and K had not kicked me out of the bed. Though we had planned to shop and eat out and God knows what not, we ended up spending most of the day inside the house, generally talking, finishing some chores, last minute packings and arrangements. Pronto at 2000hrs we ventured towards the station. The entire crowd in the train seemed to be going to Hampi. There were so many people with RAC tickets who were travelling. All the while Sam was praying that we should get a proper place to stay( Yep inspite of Sam and I both being finicky about planning and being meticulous to the core, neither of us had been able to get any reservations done!!) The optimistic me kept reassuring her that things would be fine and the ultra pessimistic her kept wondering what if things were not fine :) K being K chose to doze off and let the ladies do the thinking :D. As happens whenever old friends meet, Sam and I were talking till 0100 at night and hit the bed pretty reluctantly.

The train was supposed to reach Hospet at 0745 hours. At 0645 K woke me and asked if we had arrived, but I said there was still an hour to go. We decided to snatch some more winks. All of a sudden a lady came and said "You going to Hampi na?" We jolted YESSSS. She said "Its Hospet station get down get down, just take your luggage and get down". Maa kasam, aisa mere saath pehle kabhi nehi hua!! I freaked out, took one of the backpacks and scrammed. K and Sam were in deeper sleep I suppose, cos they took some more time. I was like hurry hurry come fast all the while. We jostled out of the train and stepped into the glaring sun of Hospet.

We were giggling silly at our stupidness. And we thought, wow quite an adventurous start!!

Scarce did we know - the adventure had just began!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stolen Moments


Time management is one of the most common classes in our office. Time and again we keep receiving emails for yet another time management course and as habit, I drag to the trash folder :) But time management is one thing any one needs heavily.

Many a times I feel, K and I hardly have time for each other. I rise around 0630 and attend to the chores in the kitchen. After an hour and a half, when I am done with my duties, and ready for the gym, K wakes up. He is around in the house for an hour or so when he gets ready for office and packs the lunches. By the time hes ready to leave for office, I come back from the gym and have a 40 minute window to get ready for work. Evenings are equally crammed. Some days in case hes early ( which is a big rarity, I get caught up in something. ) Even if I am early, many a times I have some pending tasks which I cater to from home. Else he gets immersed in preparing for a certification he is planning to write. I do not complain about this, cos this is life, but then when we cross each other passing by (he starting for office and me returning from gym or he hitting the bed while I am on with some work, he with his mug of coffee while I am starting to the gym etc) we kinda miss each other. But its good in a way because every time we are together, we relish those precious times.

Like last weekend. We ventured out just for the heck of it in a bus to a land far far away for a haricut :) Yep we chose to travel some 20 odd kilometers while people do come to some salons in our area for a nice hairdo. And fate had it such, the main person (the "Billoo Barber " we had heard a lot about and gone to see ) was missing from the salon that day and we had to make just a round trip. On the return we got famished and had an amazing Chettinadu meal!! We were soooo full, we decided to do our tummies a favor and walked back the entire 4 km stretch back home. We chit chatted, and discussed so many things - my opinion about his friends, his childhood days, my memories of our time in Papas government quarters and so many other things we rarely talk about. The walk from the hotel to our home, is something we both will cherish for a very very long time.

And the next day I did something I had never done before - I invited 2 of his friends for dinner. I always have fond memories of mom hosting a lot of get togethers for dads friends and their families. I was a tongue tied ungainly teenager then and remember being very quiet. My feisty sister was an epitome of cuteness and quietness too. I remember one of dad friends ask her one question after another to get more than a monosyllable as an answer. But none the less as I look back, those days were idyllic with all the elaborate cookings and choosing the best dress to wear and tidying up the house (rather pushing all clutter behind the cupboards :) ) Last sunday when we hosted K's friends, I could understand how happy my mom might have felt going through all the pain of cooking, arranging and later even cleaning. Post that, as we both were sipping the Coca cola, K got talking about some of his wishes and random aspirations. We were discussing them, as if they were events about to take place in the coming week and were charting the plan of action for absolutely hypothetical scenarios. Do not remember how time passed by, but I do remember feeling very satisfied after that long drawn conversation. :)

Luckily fate gave us another chance to steal some precious moments last Thursday. K and my workplace are in the middle of no where and both the no wheres lie diametrically opposite to each other (@!%^@!$!) But Thursday, K had to come in the direction of my office to meet a team mate of his whose father had expired. We both decided to return home together. Once K reached my office, we had snacks together. It was more just to be together rather than out of hunger. Just as we started for home, it started pouring. And we shared one umbrella and came home drenched. I hate the journeys in share autos I undertake every day . Its like smoking a cigarette, each one takes 5 minutes of happiness from my life :( The days it rains when I am commuting, I hate it even more - much much more. But for the first time since I joined my office, I liked the journey back home. It felt like good old times in Bangalore where our love more or less blossomed in one fated auto trip where K gave me his shoulder to rest upon *blushes*. Once home, we had yummy mil made pasta and yummy me made masala tea and the soporific sound of rain drops dancing on the balcony in the background. It was bliss, I felt happy to be where I was - with a loving friend ( I still do not look upon K as a husband :) ) and an mil who adds a unique angle of wise support to our domesticity.

I am not sure when again I might get such pleasant moments with K. Maybe they should have a course on "personal time" management course for people who work in God forsaken work places and have a lot of personal hobbies and interests to accommodate and who .........the list just does nt end here :) (I should start working on designing such a course maybe :D )

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Indecisive me, guilty conscience and an innocent tag

The title of the post is quite a mouthful :) For the lack of a load to write on, I decided to club everything I could think of.

The Ganesh Chaturthi weekend that went by was full of dilemmas for me. I do not mind the earth shattering, tsunami causing ones, cos I feel I am well empowered to handle them. The ones I dread are, what should I wear, should I eat another sweet or not, should I go to gym today or succumb to laziness and doze some more and so on.

There was nothing planned for the weekend, so K as per his latest fancy that I should sport shorter hair, was persistent we make a trip to a salon far far away where I would get the hair cut to die for. I like change, but then I dread if some changes will make me become a recluse unable the face the mirror and people. What if I end up having a mop like hair cut or any other the other nightmarish cuts that so many actresses sport with elan. For Sunday there was a whole bunch of things packed - puja in the morning, temple visit in the afternoon and a wedding reception in the evening. So with my puppy eyes I went to master K and said, tomorrow was going to be too tiring, could we just laze around the house for a day? Reluctantly I got his nod and then slept off for good 3 hours in the afternoon.

But when I woke, I was guilt ridden - at having wasted precious time. Rather than being re freshed and rejuvinated, I was feeling strangely drained. I wished, I had ventured out and gotten some fresh air:( But then it was too late. And I had to amuse myself with back to back movies on tv. I hoped the coming day would be better as I hit the bed.

Sunday also started on a gloomy note. I rose and shone at 0600 for the puja preparation, but then things got going faster than I anticipated. Most chores were over by 0900 thanks to the propelling force of my mil. And then there was nothing to do but wait for K to finish some sacred thread changing thingy he was on with. By mid day, a cover of sleep started to envelope me. We had planned to go to the replica of the Jagannath temple on ECR with some colleagues of mine. But with the laziness that was surging over, I chucked the plan. K tried to convince to make it, but then I chose to be lazy yet again. As an action replay of the previous day, yet again, I felt guilty of not sticking to the plan, not venturing out, not summoning that extra bit of will and making it. The ride to the temple would have been so much fun - wish I had made it. Argh - I so wish I was a more decisive person and if I was not created decisive, wish God had left me without this penchant for feeling guilty so easily.

And on the same note, Deeps tagged me
Here are the rules :-
RULE 1
You can only say Guilty or Innocent.
RULE 2
You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks! :P

Asked someone to marry you? Innocent

Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty

Danced on a table in a bar? Innocent

Ever told a lie? Guilty

Had feelings for someone whom you can’t have back? Innocent

Kissed a picture? Guilty

Slept in until 5 PM? Innocent

Fallen asleep at work/school? Innocent

Held a snake? Innocent.

Been suspended from school? Innocent

Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent

Stolen from a store? Innocent

Been fired from a job? Innocent

Done something you regret? Guilty

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Innocent

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Innocent

Kissed in the rain? Innocent

Sat on a roof top? Innocent

Kissed someone you shouldn’t? Innocent

Sang in the shower? Guilty.

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Innocent

Shaved your head? Guilty

Had a boxing membership? Innocent.

Made a girlfriend cry? Guilty.

Been in a band? Innocent

Shot a gun? Guilty

Donated Blood? Innocent

Eaten alligator meat? Innocent!

Eaten cheesecake? Guilty

Still love someone you shouldn’t? Innocent

Have/had a tattoo? Innocent.

Liked someone, but will never tell who? Innocent

Been too honest? Guilty

Ruined a surprise? Innocent :)

Ate in a restaurant and got really bloated that you couldn’t walk afterwards? Guilty. Guilty Guilty

Erased someone in your friends list? Guilty

Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Guilty.

Joined a pageant? Innocent

Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who totally meant what they said? Guilty

Had communication with your ex? Innocent

Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Innocent.

Got totally angry that you cried so hard? Guilty!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On, Off, On, Off and then Full ON!


We had planned the trip to Bangalore just two weeks prior to the date of journey. And in mere two weeks, things can precipitate pretty rapidly.

As we were counting days and entering the week of the journey, piggy flu hogged the headlines of all national dailies. I having a penchant for catching the cold easily ended up being on every well meaning relatives' radar. "Are you sure you want to travel?" Now when someone asks such a question, one is bound to have doubts. K suggested that we should cancel the trip. My sissy had plans of coming over from Mysore and visiting us. I was too agog to be with her and loiter around for 2 good days. Now that our plan was on the verge of being canceled, I asked her to loose the enthu and get back to her training. :(

But K was not one to let go of a trip to his favorite place so easily. He said, we would buy masks, wash hands, not eat outside and carry lots of amrutanjan to get rid of the cold as soon as I get a whiff of it. My mom was worried sick. I convinced her that I would be fine. The trip was on.

Finally, the trip seemed to be a possibility and I mentally started making a note of the stuff I would need to pack. My sissy called and said she was not having any company to accompany her to Bangy. This would have been my sister's maiden journey out of her city and my mom was damn scared of her making it all alone. So Momma asked her to stay put at Mysore itself. Now that little sissy was not gonna come to Bangy, it completely dampened my spirits. Seeing her was the high point of my travel. I hoped, even if I was not able to buy any thing, at least I would get to spend some time with her which would be more than fulfilling. I thought it would be a better idea to make the trip when she would also be in a position to come to Bangy and more over with the swine flu scare et al, it was best to not undertake any travel.

Par dil hai ki manta nehi :) And on Friday morning I decided, we should go ahead with the trip. No matter what. On hearing my conviction sissy said, she would come to Bangy. No matter what. While returning from work, I shopped for some goodies for sissy and then mom called and said, sissy would not make it to Bangy cos she was caught up with some work. I guess she had some test or something coming up. On the spur I said, I would make a trip and visit her at Mysore. Going all the way to Bangy but not being able to see her who was just 3 hours away seemed very un fair.

This time K and I had booked our tickets in the sleeper bus services that run from Chennai to Bangy. It was an entirely different experience. It is extremely comfortable if one chooses to ignore the rude behavior of the bus conductors. Banglore as usual filled us both with nostalgia as it never ever fails to do. The atmosphere itself is vibrant with a feel which is so very different from the tradition soaked Chennai. The malls, the youth thronging the streets, the westernised attires - the city has spunk. Saturday 4 and half straight hours I spent shopping for clothes and got some real good buys at Brand Factory - 3 pairs of trousers and 4 shirts. K had to stand the entire agonizing duration and had to go through my "should I take this?", "do I look fat in this?", "does this color go well with my skin tone?" and a zillion and one "gal questions". He lost his patience, shouted at me, complained why was I even bothering to ask his opinion when ultimately I was doing contrary to what he was saying, and also gave me some real good suggestions to mix and match. That done, he purchased some shoes and I got a pair of jeans from a factory outlet. It was a very tiring exercise. But all the purchases were worth it :)

That done, we travelled one half of the city to meet my friend Sam. I helped her around with some of her shopping. No sooner than we had settled our selves in KFC with a lemon and a mango banana Krusher, that I got a call from sister in law saying it was time to head home for dinner. It was already 7 in the evening and she was hosting dinner with some other relatives. I was with Sam for hardly an hour, and it was sad to leave her so soon, but then some things got to be done.

The next day started early with us leaving home at 7. The journey to Mysore ended at 12 noon and I met my dear sis. She was just the same, but with some dark circles under her eyes. We had lunch at a place called Parklane. We had random conversation flowing and she narrating tales of her office and training in her childlike fashion. Post lunch, for the lack of time or space for anything else, we 3 just sat on a wall near a park and chit chatted. The clock struck 2 and we had to start the return trip to Bangy since we were heading back to Chennai that very night. It took a 4 hours to get back home. I travelled for nearly 7 hours to be with darling sissy for 2. But it was worth it. I would have felt very empty if I would not have seen her. And K was a real sweetheart to accompany me. I know he would have, but he understood my wish to meet my sister and accompanied me rather than doing so as a chore was what made it beautiful. God bless him :)

A trip, which might never have happened, was so close to never happening, but when it did - it was something. A vacation plan we had made for October got cancelled cos of K's office work yet again. Maybe a Bangy visit again would be enough to cheer us up :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekend Musings

The life of a software professional is from one weekend to the next. And the weekend which went by, 1st and 2nd of August to be precise was a pretty tumultuous for me.

Now let me build the background a bit before I leave my readers completely bamboozled. I think there is one unsolved mystery which could make it to atleast one of the many freak shows on tv. And that is of married women putting on weight out of no reason at all. My friend A and I spend a good amount of time mulling over this life and confidence altering fact. :( We are just not able to figure out, why inspite of everything remaining same, just having a life partner makes the body's equation with calories go berserk. I am more on the utterly critical side, cos I hit the gym regularly, do cardio, pump weights and all I get in return is reflection which shows tyres. Come on now, how pathetic is that!!?? :( As a consequence, except for one pair of jeans, I was weaned of all my western wear and am surviving on the same, boring, repetitive wardrobe of kurtas :(

But last weekend, I pumped up by my mom whose words, confident is what confident does went the bold way and decided, I am ready to accept this new me which looks more like the Michelin Man. K was highly supportive and we ventured on the highly ardous journey of getting me a new wardrobe of western wear. 4.5 hours spent in Spencer's Plaza ( allegedly a mall which sports 'most' of the brands) and I resulted in a naught in the western wear section and got 2 more kurtas... bwaaaaa (who wanted more kurtaaaasss boooo hoooo ) I was devastated. The size which would fit me, did nt have the colors I wanted. The colors I wanted teased me for being the size I was in. It was a diabolical smirk of fate.

In spite of all the pep talk from K about me getting back to my previous size thanks to my 'regular' and 'rigorous' and 'religious' gym routine - I felt dejected. I was switching between unsurmountable wrath to unfathomable grief. After a point, K lost his patience, and washed his hands off the entire affair. I tried many things to revive my spirits, but even ginger tea did not work that day.

Thats when my mom called up. First I thought, I could spare her the grotesque details of the day, but then me being me, had to off load everything to my darling mom. And she being she, gave the most bizzare idea - "Go to Bangalore for shopping, that place has better choices" Ahem! well, not infeasible, but is nt it carrying the whole thing a bit too far? Just for a new wardrobe am I supposed to travel to another state? None the less, the girl talk and the irrelevant planning of where all I could shop there, give bring the smile back :D. I casually mentioned it to K, and he said "Why not??" Ahem ahem.... are pigs flying??? He stated, we could meet a lot of relatives and generally roam around too - Bangalore being a place which sparked our 'romance' holds a special place for both of us. So we are all set to travel to Bangalore the Independence Day weekend. I would also get to meet my kiddo sis and a whole lot of friends and relatives.

If fate turns out my way, I will be back with some chic clothes too. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A trip and some thoughts


Last weekend K and I made a trip to Ooty with K's project team. Frankly speaking, I am not a fan of cooler climes. They trigger an unprecedented bout of sinus and leave me dazed and harried. It was group trip, and the only person I knew from the group was my husband :S - this thought caused further trepidation. And I am not so much of a "group" person either.

In spite of these blatant negative pointers, somehow I had an irrational feeling - that the trip would be good. And It was!

For starters, for the first time, of all the journeys we have undertaken, K and I were well ahead of time in getting to the station. Since it was a completely Tamil speaking crowd I would be travelling with, I had braced myself to get mega bored, as I had on previous occasions with K's friends. ( If any of K's friends except the Dino are reading this - please don't take any offense :) ) I had decided that, as my last resort, I would start reading the novel I was carrying risking the fact that I might look like an utter snob by doing so. But then you gotta do what you gotta do. Once the train started and the conversations too started flowing, I sat through it entirely without getting the least bit bored. I did not understand 85% of what was going on, but then I amused myself by observing the animations on each ones face, the different accent with which some people spoke, the affected mannerisms of others and generally analysing and passing verdicts on each one. I did that for 2hours 15 minutes after which I got tired of the cramped space and made my move to doze off.

I am not sure if I have "evolved" after the stay at a place whose lingua franca I do not understand. If I have, I am very pleased with the evolution. :) I no longer get peeved by the fact that folks do not even bother to ask me my name. I do not object to the fact that the majority tongue flows freely with scant regard that a person might be interested in getting into the conversation. And when there is something I feel I should know, I innocently interrupt with an"English please :D " and dont feel abashed at doing so either. I wish I was so footloose free on prior occassions. I would have done myself a mighty favor. But then, evolution happens only with time.

On reaching Coimbatore, the ride to Ooty was a pleasure to say the least. I hate the color green. On previous visits to hill stations, whenever any one would draw my attention to the greenery, I used to remark - "Am I a cow to go ga ga over this!!" This trip was meant to be different - I found the greenery refreshing.


The trees were washed fresh with sporadic showers. The clouds fumed from the base of the mountains. The roads were wide and the hair pin curves did not cause a mutiny in the organs. I thoroughly enjoyed the uphill ride.

Once set in the cottages, I got ready for the sight seeing with amazing alacrity. The places we went to were resplendent with an old world charm. I had heard about Ooty being crowded, commercialised and chaotic. But I found it out of the world, one which very much deserved being called the Queen of the Nilgiris. K and I walked along a lot.

There were 2 other couples, one recently married and another as old as us. The newbies were eager to get clicked beside every tree and hedge. The older one, took a more mature stance. While K and I were behaving like old friends. We held hands with ease and K did help me in conquering a couple of tough rocks. Then I remebered how a couple of days after wedding I had felt strange that K and I are not so demonstrative of our affection as some people are. I remember writing in
this post, how I felt my sis in law and her hubby being publicly affectionate. During this trip, I could feel the comfort K and I shared even in a social arena. It needs time to get used to being with the new person post marriage even if its a love marriage. It is something like a new friendship. One takes those baby steps first, sheds inhibitions slowly and then becomes completely comfortable. For a friend also no one gets to the back slapping comfort zone from the day one. It takes time to build that camaraderie. Same it works with a spouse too. When I reached this profound conclusion, I felt even better. :)

The sight seeing at Ooty was very satisfying. The crowning glory was the ride in the heritage train. After a fully packed 2 day tour, I slept like a log during the return trip and woke up with a splendid sinus the next morning. Good enough, for things should never be too good :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I am actually doing this :O

I always take pride in being this practical girl. Till I was tagged by Deeps.
This is how the tag goes, I got to fish for a picture on My Pictures and tell the story behind it. That very day I happened to read this from Ashu which made me zero in on a picture I am reallllllllllllly scared to put. This is gonna ruin my reputation! :( The personal laptop being kaputsy, has added to the burden, since I just got a limited choice on my office laptop - I had no other option but to put this pic :( :( :(


Yes people laugh all you want. This is the handwriting of yours truly(except for one place where K has replied with lipstick :( ) and thanks to Ashu's post which was so corny in parts, I boiled down to this particular picture and now for the story.

Well, in the recent past I had posted about my feelings on going to my parent's place without K and all. So when the day came for me to leave Chennai, I took these post its and put them in different places. Some were within reach, the bathroom mirror, the tv set, on the wardrobe, on the microwave, on the fridge and one on his tooth brush. Some were the sneaky ones which needed proding to reach, for instance - shoes, in the cover of the trimmer( K uses his trimmer and blissfully forgets to keep it inside the case, so it was a challenge), one on the plant in the balcony ( now that was a risk, but I ensured the post it was tightly attached, this was more of a test how often he would water the plants :P) and a few on the cutlery. K did manage to find EACH one of them :) Smartie hubby of mine *bats eyelid*

I am not sure what made him take a click once he had collected them. He took a click of few of them and am not sure if he lost the rest by the time he decided on taking a picture.

Well.... hmm so.. thats my rather embarassing story.
Now for my turn to pick the people who should spill their beans
Satish, Shylu, Ashu, Raaji

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When will this pass?

Its going to be close to a week since we saw off dear sissy at her work - and the emptiness is yet to go. What bothers me more is the state my parents are in. I have not heard them happy since Monday. There is a strange note in their voice - something which makes me feel like leaving everything and rushing to them.

When I moved out of the house, which was a good 9 years ago, never once did my parents urge me to come home. Yes they used to miss me and they wished I was around with them, but they always stressed what I was doing then was more important than home. I always had stern directives, if classes are a bit slack then come home. If the project release is over, then come home. I always had an assurance, they are fine without me. Even if they missed me, it never came out overtly except sometimes over phone calls and letters. I always felt my parents are self reliant and I used to be proud of the fact.

But now that they are alone, their loneliness just comes through in every word they say. In spite of having an active social life, I feel as if they are yet to escape their loneliness. Mom asked me if would be possible for me to come over for a week in July and dad went to the extent of saying, take a month's leave and be with us. I know they are saying all this in a fit of weakness and emotions. Still it makes me feel helpless. It is so unfair, that parents spend a good part of their lives fending for the very children who one day might not even be close to them. The gross injustice of this fact leaves me suffocated.

And I feel completely at a loss reaching a solution for this scenario. 2 days back, I was nearly tempted to ask my supervisor, if it would possible for me to attain a work from home option alternate months or so. On another occasion I was thinking, how good it might be if my parents move base for a year or so, say take up a house in my city and be here just to be closer to us. Otherwise I keep mulling how good a puppy be in replacing us and then again I wonder, how about adopting a child and giving a good upbringing for someone with a disadvantage. I do know that all these options are just an eye wash - a mere veneer to cover a deep scar. But I so wish, I had some remediation. I see the same situation for a lady who is our neighbour. She too has 2 daughters, married and settled and her husband is no more. She is as busy as any other working lady being voraciously involved in religious and charitable activities. I admire how she gives the same commitment to so many activities she is involved in. But when sometimes mil says, she breaks down into tears sometimes when she was misses her husband and her children, I felt exasperated.

Phew! I am not sure if I went through a whole lot of ranting. Some of my readers are in the situation my parents are in - I would love to hear how they deal with it and maybe give some insights into how my parents might be feeling at deeper level. If they feel there is something I should do that could better things, I would be most welcome to do it. I hope this passes over soon :S