Wednesday, March 27, 2013

weSurvive - II

I woke up to an alarm after more than a year.

I was awake way  before the alarm went off. I still waited for the alarm to go off. I dismissed it. There was a message from my mom - wishing me luck and praying for God's benevolence. As always - I did not need anything more.

I started on with prepping the morning coffee and toasts for breakfast. After getting done with all the chores - I had plenty of time in hand. The lil one woke up in sometime. I had thought that I would not have the heart to say goodbye to her. I for all intents and purposes had decided to sneak away. K assured that he would take care and commanded 'No secrets'. I made the goodbye quick and reassuring (for me) and darted off. 

All set, I called the cab and set forth.

It so happens that many a times its very easy to confide in an utter stranger. As I was giving directions to the cab driver I mentioned that I was going back after a year long maternity leave. He asked about the baby and hoped we have more soon (parentsssss- once you become one, you wish it upon everyone) Then he went on to tell about his gorgeous kids, how he sees them once in a while post his divorce, the unfortunate events that led to the divorce and so on. It was genuine conversation - not filling empty spaces with words. Once we reached, we truly meant when we said that it was nice meeting each other.

The previous day I was wondering if I would even find the place I was supposed to sit. K had joked that I could run around the office calling out my manager's name. But in the locker room as I was depositing my coat, I met the lady who was my replacement. She exclaimed 'Gosh! Its been a year already?!!!' I shrugged :) There you have me. 'Finding my location' problem sorted out :P 

My manager had changed. My ex-manager who is a gem of a person and recent dad himself ( his daughter being 10 days elder to Chiyaa) came up and chatted. So did some senior managers and folks. They all seemed to be talking about some of the applications as if I was never away! I am not sure if the year was a blink for them too. Or maybe people come people go - work goes on :P Somehow all the chatting made me feel at ease , at home (err... ). I could not help noticing how some people looked slimmer, some looked bulkier , some looked just the same. Seriously sometimes a year is such a short time to effect any change. Other times its a huge duration to bring about monumental metamorphosis. Everyone - every single person- asked about Chiyaa, whether she was walking, how was she faring, how were her eating habits and all. I felt a tad proud talking about her :) 

Beginner's luck it sure was. The 5 working hours of the day came to an end even before I could realise (I am working part time hence 2.5 hours less than the scheduled time). I literally ran my way back home.

Would the good run last?

Monday, March 18, 2013

weSurvive - I

I had plans of writing this post within the first week. One  thing led to another and I thought within the fortnight for sure. Today its been a month and I decided it was high time I spoke about our survival.

It's weird the way life turns a full 360 degrees within a short span of time. I remember the time I stood on the threshold all vacant, with a lot of time in my hand.  That was a juncture when I thought how would I ever sit at home. After a year I was feeling weird at not being at home

I could have sat preparing for the day since forever. I could have imagined it happening one way or the other. I dreaded, fretted and worried myself crazy. Some days have to be begun and got done with to know how they fare. No amount of preparation can be adequate. For the day has the flair of having its own identity. I vividly remember my 10th standard exam - the first public exam ever. That crisp morning of March - I will never forget writing the English Language paper. After it, all other exams were cake walk :) The first job interview ever on the balmy August morning. Walking through the corridors of the college to reach the exam hall where the written tests happened, standing with bated breath for the results and then going forth to the interview. It all seemed like a breeze when at the end of 9 hours the offer letter was in hand. There were many other such red letter days. (A post about them later maybe) Days which are important in anticipation but seem mundane once passed. 

Same was the build up for the day I was to return from maternity leave. I prepped a lot. Ashu was the most supportive being a new mom back at work herself. She did guarantee beginner's luck and said the first would be most uneventful. So much for being a pep talker :P But the most solid and stead fast support came from none other but my mom. She was a working woman and being a government employee there were long tenures where she was posted in an altogether different city from dad and us. In spite of it, never have my sister or I felt her 'absence' We did miss her and needed her. But she was always there - in true spirit - in those days without cell phones, smart phones or skype.  For that matter initially we used to make trunk calls to her, since we did not have STD enabled on our landline. She assured me - "when at work give 100% to work and when at home give 100% to her. Don't ever think you are leaving her. You are going to do your job. A couple of years later, she would go to school. You would not look at it as she leaving you. Similarly you are being away from her for sometime of the day."

I could not have asked for anything more. To top it I received feedback from all quarters that kids adjust way too well. Its the moms who make things miserable by taking the guilt trips. Armed with these - I went forth......

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The White Tiger

I have been meaning to read this book for a long time. It being an award winning  book and all. I had a copy but never managed to read it. Finally, thanks to K and his awesome gift of the Kindle, I was able to read it.

The book is an autobiographical tale of a driver - Balram Halwai. He comes from a part of India which he claims to be the 'Darkness'. The story is of his metamorphosis from a quaint villager to cut throat entrepreneur. The book's theme had a lot of semblance with Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. But while the  latter evokes ones sympathy and pathos, this book heckles. The book makes one feel repentant for having the simplest conveniences. The blatant sarcasm in the narrative borders on being psychotic. The journey into the tortured mind of Balram Halwai is not a painless one. It is pure gore as the reader is brought face to face with the everyday torments of an underprivileged person who has masters brutalizing him with tasks, family members eyeing his meagre earnings, peers waiting to pounce and upset his applecart. It is not easy to live a life between the devil and the deep sea with some dragons thrown in for good measure. 

The first three quarters of the book are especially engrossing. It is not a fresh tale but the style sure is. The very blatant and rude way in which the words are put are captivating. Somehow the book looses pace in the climax. It becomes a bit pedantic. I think maybe the reader gets used to Balram Halwai's brusque tone so much that even a little dilution in the same seems out of character. 

The book is a good read for the way its been written. There have been umpteen tales about the sordid underbelly of India. This is yet another take on it. Go ahead and get tormented. 

My favourite from the book :-

I wonder if Buddha walked through Laxmangarh - some people say he did. My own feeling is that he ran through it - as fast as he could - and got to the other side - and never looked back!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wot say?

Some 30 mins back - a thought struck me. I was so proud of myself at having thought the thought. Here it goes -

If one is unaware of the magnitude of a burden, one has no qualms carrying it.

Awesome eh? Thank you thank you :)  (What you have read it somewhere? Huh! Move on)

Now how this divya gyaan? The story so far ...

I had to buy some onions. I can get it from the nearby super market which is 7 minutes away, but you get it cheaper in the local farmer's market which is 20 minutes away. Me being the 'normal - penny  - pinching  - co-care -  taker -  of  - the  - kitchen  - and  - the -  monthly  - budget ' choose to buy it from the farmer's market. Come what may. Today while returning from work, I made the trip to the market (though my heart wanted to run home and see the beatific face of my sleeping baby) Anyways, back to onions and the price one had to pay for them. I went to the shop and asked for a 'bag of onions'. He asked 'which one'. (Too many questions now.) (If we software professionals asked this many questions to clients, we would always deliver zero defect products.) I gave a cursory glance at the bags and saw 2 types of onions - one with red peel and one with pink. (Simple) I replied 'the pink ones' (If clients always answered questions like this there would never ever be zero defect products). The shopkeeper took the answer and gave me the bag. I started carrying it home. 

Another trivia about me - I have weak hands. As in I don't know why, my hands lack strength of any sort. Being a right-handed person, I in fact reserve it for  'only the most important tasks' - like writing and cutting vegetables. I use the mouse, brush my teeth, stir cooking with my left. I underestimated the weakness of my arms when I took the onus of carrying those onions home. I had barely walked 4 minutes, that the hand gave away. I still had some 16 more minutes of walk left. (Yes there are other pragmatic options people think of - catch a cab, board a bus - but then. OK another trivia about me. I am ridiculously obstinate when it comes to walking. I like it so much and live by it to the extent that I chose to walk no matter what. Even with an equally ridiculous bag of onions.)

So heaving the bag, huffing and panting I somehow reached home. It must have taken me 5 minutes extra. 

Mil saw the bag and said - oh so much!! I said, ' last time also we got this much'. She was like no  way! And now we decided to do the sensible thing - weigh it. It weighed 8 kilos! ( Does not seem that much? Go give it a shot then :P ) Last time we had got 4 kilos :) Now I realised when the shopkeeper asked 'which one' he meant 'size' wise. Me being me went with the color (silly me *blushes*)  

So where did the divya gyaan sprout from? Well last Saturday, when we were coming back from Chiyaa's swimming class when I also take a swim while she takes the class with Daddad,we had a heavy bag to carry. Mine and her wet swim wear and towels and what not. Mind you - I have  a pretty conservative swim wear which covers a lot - till my knees. Once its soaked in water it gets pretty heavy. So there I was complaining to K that the bag was too heavy and asking him to share the burden. It must have 2 kilos max. Today I carried 4 times the load - and not a word. Ergo - 

If one is unaware of the magnitude of a burden, one has no qualms carrying it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The ugly the bad the good

Highlights of the day we hosted Chiyaa's first birthday party.

Chiyaa got up right on time in a fresh vibrant mood. This lead to the lazy parents also waking up on time without needing an alarm . Good.

We were able to finish her morning chores without breaking sweat. She was showered, fed and dressed up and looked like a shiny new penny :) Good.

I wore a saree without a mirror and to my satisfaction in the very first attempt. Good.

Dad and his friend made plans to buy some decoration stuff en route to the party venue. They did find a shop which sold just the right things! Good.

We reached the venue in a cab with the baby and the return gifts . Dad and friend carried the decoration stuff and the big heavy cake. Two families had already reached by the time we arrived . Not so good. And from here kick in the bad and ugly :(

The cake had been kept over night in a refrigerator (thanks to mummy's dummy-ness) It had turned rock solid. Needed total brute force to cut. Dad's colleagues in fact took turns to cut it. It was so hard! Bad.

Due to the 'toughness' of the cake the cutting took forever :( kids who come to birthday parties for the cake and the return gifts were getting tad restless. Bad.( thankfully once served the cake was delicious though badly mutilated)

The stewardess was taking forever getting things onto the tables . She was a slow coach . For some reason on top of it she wanted to do everything - no delegation at all . As if this party was going to be the single most important thing she would put on her resume. She did not have the common sense to serve the dishes on each table . Rather she went on asking if the dish had been 'ordered'( much to the confusion of the guests . We could not also micro manage each table) Things were going a bit helter skelter there. Bad.

She spoke Tamil - since most of the guests also spoke the language- she went about bad mouthing her boss on some tables. It led to a bit of dampening of the atmosphere . Outright ugly.

We had selected ice cream as the dessert . But the owner had forgotten to stock up enough ! Rather there was none!!!! It was VERY embarrassing to tell the guests the same and ask if they would want some more juice! Ugly.

Since the damage was already done we thought it would be pointless to argue with the owner. We paid the full fare, heard his lame excuses and came out. Bad.

--since I am the eternal optimist I choose to stick to the good no matter how morbid the bad and ugly . So some more goods :)

We looked and felt very nice end of day.
We have a 100 pictures to commemorate the first birthday of our first born. Thanks to Dino.
It was wonderful to have him around - it was like a dash of home. Made us feel unspeakably comfortable!
The atmosphere overall was very friendly . People were chatting, mingling , and generally having fun. People who do not frequent many of the social events had made it! The guests in fact pitched in to blow balloons , decorate the place and participate .

Though we were tired at the end of the day and Dino's departure made us feel sad - it was a special day we enjoyed . I would have preferred some things to have happened in some other ways - but in end it reminded me of our wedding day. A special day but not a perfect day. As I said in my last post- maybe we do not do perfect after all .