June 30, 2010

Barbies Vs Basketball

The Man Vs Woman debate on who is the superior gender has been on for years. We have now reached the 'They are equal' conclusion. Talk on empowering women, educating the girl child, fight against female foeticide, dowry deaths, honour killings, career women and a whole lot of things favouring women/girls are constantly being discussed and debated. I vote for it. I agree women rock! Women are awesome. They are wonderful at multitasking, balancing work-home, and they don't shy from speaking their mind, reacting, rebelling and choosing their path and walking it too.
I am not discussing serious issues of gender equality or women's reservation and its significance or any such thing. My reason for this blog is very simple. It's about babies. I don't think this needs a disclaimer suggesting these words are purely my personal opinion, because my blog is obviously my mind and my thoughts. I am mother to a little boy and I absolutely love him and adore him. In the past 21 months (since I first held the little one) I have so often been told my many--friends, family, acquaintances, near strangers--on how I should go for one more baby, and it comes with an add-on that says, "Don't worry, next time it will definitely be a girl." WHAAAT. When did I ever give them the impression that am brooding over having had a son.
Let me be honest here and admit that I did desire a girl, but like any anxious first-time mommy my secret prayers always wished for a healthy, happy baby. I am blessed with just that. Touch wood! I remember the moment when the doctor took the little life from within me and told me 'It's a boy'....I did feel a prick of disappointment. It lasted a few days (the time I took to turn mother in mind, sould and heart). And then the feeling vanished just the way it came: sudden and unexpected. Since then, not once have I been haunted by that worry. I love my boy and he brings the brightest smile on my face.
This is no boy child vs girl child debate. This is just my response to the many many concerned and loving people out there who keep comforting me saying it's never too late...you can still try for a girl. When you've just had a baby [boy], why bless them saying: 'Congrats and hope you soon have a little girl too'. What's the fuss about.
Yes kidswear brands are partial to little girls--the super cute dresses they bring out for the little dolls. For boys, it's mostly the shorts and t-shirts, with some brands being nice enough to add a little twist to the designs. Yes, girls can be dressed, accessorised...the polka dots, the floral prints, cute bags, pretty hair bands, tiny colourful shoes, ear rings, bangles and what not! For boys, its often just a cap or belt.
Yes girls sound far cuter when they talk, they ask the cutest questions in their sweetest voices and have you cracking up in laughter, while the boys are busy kicking the football or riding their cycle or breaking things. Just one little observation [by me] goes in favour of the little boys--they seem less fussier/crankier than girls.

When it comes to hugs, kisses, loving and making you feel wanted....the boys are just as cute and just as innocent. They hug you for no reason, kiss you to soothe your anger and just makes you feel so special. To all you moms out there who feel you're family's incomplete without a little doll or who feel you've been denied the joy & love of a little girl or who feel boys means trouble and torture....this one's for you.
Playing football with my little macho is just as much fun as dressing up Barbie. Hearing him cheer for a goal or go clap clap for a sixer is just as exciting as watching a little girl do up her doll house. Watching my little boy dance and sing to his own steps and tunes is my ultimate entertainment, and I feel so special when he drags me to join in the dance. Kids are adorable, they are addictive, they are amazing: be it boy or girl. Love them and they'll love you just as much or even more.

This is my little brat....and I soooo love him. Muahhh my munchkin!

June 25, 2010

Girls, I miss you

This post is dedicated to two dear friends who shall be referred to as N and T in the blog. N is now in Bangalore married to her childhood sweetheart and mother to an adorable little girl. T is now in the US, married to a handsome man and mommy to two darling children--a boy and a little princess. Why pick them from among my huge friends group. Are they dearer to me than the many others, or have I known them longer than others, or have they been my shoulder-to-cry-on. It's nothing too emotional, actually. Some things, some pictures, some conversations, some reads take you back in time (Yes I haven't fully recovered from the Past-Forward syndrome) to old schools, old faces, old friends, old memories. Memories: some are faded and slightly forgotten, some others are fresh and forever.
N and T are part of my fresh & forever memories. Friends from school--we have been together a long long time-- we have shared some hilarious, heartening, heartbreaking and crazy times together. The group had more members, some with whom am still in touch, some others who have disappeared. We have done the crazy, the weird, the unthinkables...have been other's support, strength, agony aunt, punching bag...wept together over lost loves, laughed & celebrated birthdays, loves and many special moments.
Fifteen years later we still cherish the friendship, though we don't get time to catch up as often as we'd like to. I can't remember the last time three of us got together. I haven't even seen some of the kids. But we know we still care, we still enjoy the company, we still love to hear from each other, we long to see pictures of each other's family, our faces break into a smile when we find one another online, we would love to meet up and relive some of the mad fun of past years.
The birthday treats, the shopping sessions, the movie outings, the school days, the college times, the scooter rides, the stay-overs, the secret adventures, the secret crushes we shared...and so much more. Cheers to our friendship! I love the times and I soooo miss you girls.

PS: Dear N & T... you know who you are, right!

June 22, 2010

Q&A on the years gone by(e)....

Is thirty a good time for introspection? Not quite if you go by the new-age theory that 40 is the new 20. It's not yet mid-life or even  the rebellion teenage then. But the mind seems to differ and is seeking a few answers to some 'heavily loaded' questions. I have always amused at how our mind starts its day. At times it's so in peace with itself and just blends into our plans-for-the-day, at times it wakes up angry and fuming and sets the temper tone at its highest, at times it's infectiously funny and keeps us smiling and happy all day, then there are days when the mind's on a holiday--you hardly know it's there-- and you end up doing mindless stuff. Oh and then there are those days when the mind wakes up with 'loaded questions'. Today's one such morning where my mind's hit by the Past-Forward Syndrome: a look back at the past, the way it's turned out and a look ahead at the future and the way it should be shaped.
Taking the time machine-ride to revisit the past years, the mind has popped up this question: So what have I achieved in these years? The heart replies: Is life about achievements? Life is about living, learning, experiencing, enjoying. Mind ponders over it, not quite convinced and decides to still do a postmortem of the years lived. Where do I start? Taking stock of the good-bad, haves-have nots, yes-no, smiles-tears, faces-places, dreams-nightmares...not an easy task. It's just a quick flashback to find a few answers: What have I achieved? Have I lived life good enough? Do I want to live my future differently? 

What have I achieved?
If achieving something is the purpose of life, well, I am not fully empty. Achievements don't just mean certificates or trophies or awards. My first day at school, my first friend, learning to ride the cycle, my first painting (that had a blue sun and yellow sky), the day my first attempt at gardening bloomed into a pretty pink rose, my first omlette, my first lone bus trip, my first time on stage...and so many more 'first times' that I so cherish and pat myself about.

Have I lived life good enough?
Good enough is a tricky phrase. Maybe I want to ask myself if I have been more happy than sad about the way I have lived my life. There are things that I have done to make myself happy. There are things I have done to make others happy. When weigh the two I think I've been a little partial to others' happiness. I say this because my Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die List is still quite long with some longtime desires put 'On Hold' either because mom didn't approve of it or because a friend wanted it first or because a dear one doesn't seem too thrilled about it, and some because I have not managed to find the time, the money and the courage.
There are also the many things that I wished I had done differently.
No 1: Taking Commerce for my Bachelors. I am skipping the 'why I did it' story.
No 2: Not mastering the skill of driving through the traffic maze. I successfully got my license at the age of 20 but ten years later I have now once again joined a driving school to relearn the skill.
No 3: Not experimenting enough with my hair. I would like to think it's still not too late, but my hair says a different story. It's bored of sticking on to my scalp and plucks itself off and clings on to my hairbrush. Then it lives a free life, flying from one room to another and then to the waste-bin from where it travels to another new world.
No 4: Not sharing enough laughter with my mom. This is one thing am now trying to make up but once again stressed for time and laughter moments.
No 5: I claim to be in love with the waters, but the last time I took a swim was ten years ago. What's my reason for it, especially when I have a pool barely 5 minutes from my home! I hope to get back into the water, praying I find my breath and not go drowning down.
No 6: Falling prey to fashion trends and ending up looking like a clown. The pictures in my album could scare any sane being: the hair styles, the clothes, the make-up. Ugghhhh...Eeekkss... Am smarter now.
No 7: Stopping with three pricks on my ears. Did a fourth one but took it off after a few months. How I wish I had more. Now can't find the courage to go through the pain and trouble yet again.
No 8: Saying it as it is, is not something I often did. At times I was honest but on most others I failed to speak my heart. Lost friends, lost loves because of this.
No 9: My Music class. Never took it seriously and never understand the beauty of it while learning it, and today I regret it. How I wish I had continued it.
No 10: Allowing my grandmother to hug me more often and kiss me whenever she wanted to. I thought I was a big girl and too old for such sweet gestures of love. Today I hug her for no reason. Love you.

Do I want to live my future differently?
I don't try and learn lessons from each phase in life. I just let it pass and then maybe later cry over it or laugh about it. But yes, a small decision--where my mind and heart are in unison--is that I will try and love myself a little more. I will pamper myself a little more. I will listen to my heart more often. I will give myself some time to live its desires and dreams. It's never too late to start loving yourself. I will try and fulfill at least some things on the 'To-Do' list. I will love more, laugh more, live more.

June 17, 2010

Missed your bus...blame it on the Rudrakash

I should not have bought that diamond pendant. It's bringing me ill-luck.
This stone isn't working for me. Things have been going wrong ever since I started wearing this.
Please check with your astrologer before you buy precious stones, especially diamonds.

Have you been through this phase? Or have you heard people blame their ill health, accident, theft, failed exam, heartbreak, etc on the pretty shiny gem on their hand or neck or ears? Jewellery never brought sparkles in my eyes and so I've never found myself visiting jewellers frequently. The only jewellery shopping I did was during my wedding time, which again was considered a 'cheap buy' by many of my relatives. It didn't match up to their expectations in weight or cost. I can't say I barely where jewels, considering I have six pierces on my ear and one on my nose. Three tiny pairs of ear-rings and a dot-like nose-pin/ring are the only decorations on me.
Well, I am not here to praise my abilities at shunning the sparkles and the gems. I enjoy checking out new designs and trends in jewellery, and if I had a ever-brimming bank account I might have even picked up some pretty ones. This is about a 'Rudraksh'. The Hindu families, typically insist that women wear a chain always. A bare neck is considered inauspicious, especially for young/married women. Chains were never my favourite piece of jewellery (I prefer anklets). I was often caught bare-necked, and while my mother had grown wise and stopped arguing with me over it, other relatives weren't so understanding of my personal choice. To escape the constant and repeated arguments and debates, I got myself an almost thread-like chain which barely showed. Even that invited unhappy comments but I couldn't care less. Ok I am deviating from the topic yet again.
The matter here is that I have always wanted to wear a Rudraksha bead. I finally bought one (actually got my father to buy it for me) two months ago. The jewellery shop I went to showed me a small packet full of Rudraksha beads--all the same size, shape and weight. The salesman said they were all the same variety and size. Not knowing much about the origin, history and power of the Rudraksha, I picked one (which looked the neatest to my eyes), put it onto my chain and wore it with joy. A few days later, a curious friend asked me where I had got the bead from, which "mukhi" it was, did I feel ok wearing it..etc..etc. I answered the parts I knew and smirked at the others. I had more people quizzing me about this, with some asking me if I was wearing it for any particular reason. Of course yes, I like it and I find it kinda cool.
Now, two months later, I find myself repeating some of these questions. Is it really Ok to wear a Rudraksha without consulting an astrologer? Do women, other than the sanyasins, wear it? Do I need to check the 'mukhi' factor? Can it bring bad luck? It hasn't been a tragic summer (except for the soaring heat), and I haven't suffered any serious setbacks or worries. But suddenly I find myself staring at the Rudrakasha every time I have a bad day or I catch a cold or when I am unable to meet deadlines or when my son gets cranky or if he falls of his cycle or if someone calls me fat or when someone doesn't reply to my call/sms or even if my recipe doesn't turn out quite right. I give a long, hard stare at the Rudrakasha, chained around my neck, half expecting it to speak up and yell at me for freedom. Somehow I know that I will have it removed within a week. Superstition or Stupidity!

June 16, 2010

Show me your feet first...

I have often heard people say: 'To judge a man look at his feet'. I wasn't told what judgment to make based on the many types of feet I have come across in my life--the perfectly manicured, the never-washed, the soft & blushing pink, long (at times painted) toe nails that run over a layer of dirt, sand and anything they fancy, the wrinkled worn-out feet, the hairy, dark, rough look, and then feet which have a differently shaped nails on each toe (thanks to the 'peel off' routine practised).
How does the feet maketh a person theory work?
- Clean feet means a man with a clean-heart or clean habits.
- Long & dirty toe nails means he's too much of a workaholic to bother about his dirty toes.
- Perfectly manicured means he's the metro or whatever-sexual man who loves to pamper himself at parlours, stock up on cosmetics and who loves to put his best "foot" forward.
- Soft & blushing means he barely exerts his feet. He dresses them in Nike or Puma shoes, sits back and orders things/people around than actually get up, walk and do it.
- Wrinkled & Worn-out means he believes in 'barefoot' tradition. No fancy footwear for him please.
- The hairy, rough look is meant to scream Macho.
- The zig-zag designer toe-nails scream Stay Away From This Man. Peeling off (or in very bizarre cases biting off) toe-nails is a time-pass that soon turns addictive. Imagine picking on the dirty nails and then dipping those fingers into your snack bowl!

Is this what we are supposed to infer? Or is there a more logical reasoning to it? Feel free to enlighten me please.
There have been feet I've found attractive but it definitely hasn't been the reason I chose the men I have (had) in my life. Didn't know feet mattered so much. Do I have to get fussy about my son's feet to ensure he makes a good impression!

PS: While in school we were given this great piece of gyan that the size of a boy's/man's palm or feet is an indication of how big/small his proud possession is!

June 12, 2010

Dusty, dull...that's the way I like it. Ahaaa!

A faded brown, a dusty look, the smell of a forgotten existence in some corner of the shelf, a used-and-abandoned feeling...this is how I like my books. The spotless, shiny book covers, the white pages with bright black ink that almost throws the contents on to your face, the handle-with-care look, the fresh, unused feeling is not something I enjoy. Yes I am one of those people who like to buy books rather than borrow, read and return. My growing up years have, I confess, been spend in Lending Libraries where I did exactly this: borrow, read, return and pay for the pages. But I've always tried to keep a note of some of the books I have thoroughly enjoyed or books that have impacted me in some way or books where some chapters have remained deeply etched in my mind or some books that hold an emotional quotient (maybe I find the author charming or maybe I am in love with the title or simply because it's the favourite book of my first crush!). Later, when I could afford the money and the time, I have tried to find these and add them to my little collection of books.
There, inside the dusty shelves of my cupboard, they lay for months...sometimes years. Until a friend would ask to borrow it or I would suddenly rediscover my love for it and search it out from the many boxes/shelves. And then when I see its shiny clean surface replaced by a dusty coat and find the pages to have a new-found dullness, I fall in love with it all over again. There's something about the perfectly packed, new, glossy look of books that I don't quite enjoy. For me books have to have a secret life of their own, their own years of memories, their own many experiences...and with this they age into the dull, dusty look.
It may seem funny, but when I pick up books (I rarely buy books in 1s, it's always a set of 4 or 5 for me) and bring them home, I right away stack them into my shelf, amidst the many other reads that's ageing in there. As they go in, I pick up a couple of earlier buys that were stored to age gracefully and I spend the rest of my days reading through them. And then a month or more later, I pick up the other lot which has now enriched itself by sharing experiences and stories with its fellow bookers...and has attained the antique-look. The allergic in me does burst into continuous, almost-nonstop sneezing sessions when I retrieve these books from the dusty corners, but that's the way I like it. Ahaaaa!

June 4, 2010

I carry a slice of the place along...& leave a part of me behind...

Living in a city is one thing, being able to make it home is another. I love travel and would have liked to live each phase of my life in a different city: childhood in one, the school days in another, do college in a new place, move to another city for a job and then keep finding reasons to travel newer places. Every city would leave a slice of itself in me and I would leave a bit of me somewhere in each of the places. What I will carry along are the many friends I made in every city, the many memories the places have gifted me, the weather that's unique to each place and yes the fragrances. Every city has its own variety of smells, aromas that give it an identity--be it the steamy, milky aroma of the filter coffee in Chennai or the almost-nauseating smell of my office canteen in Bangalore or the more appetising aromas that tickle your nose if you walk down Brigade Road/MG Road, the smell of the sea while you walk down the road in Mumbai.
I would have wished to live my life as above, but it wasn't to be so. I have had my share of short stays in some of the cities. Be it a day, a month or a year, each place that I've lived in has become my home quite easily. There is a part of me that goes home-sick at the mention of each of these places, there is a part of me that longs to back. Weekends of plays & dramas, coffee outings with friends, staying with absolute strangers, my first hostel experience, standing out on the streets with 2 loaded suitcases and 2 dear friends with no clue where to go, heart breaks, night clubs, long drives, rain dance, carol singing, girls night clubs, long drives, rain dance, carol singing, girls night outs, loads of mischief (which can't be put down here), fights, break-ups, make-ups, my first ticketless train trip in an unreserved compartment half-sitting half-standing, a variety of flavours and tastes, many many Forever Friends and so much more. Each city has gifted me suitcases of memories that I open on a rainy day or a particularly happy/sad day, rummage through, smile or shed a tear over, dust them cleam and wrap them back safely...to be opened another day.
Revisiting a place I once frequented is always an emotional experience for me. A church, a coffee shop, a mall, a beach, a park or a friend's house...each weighs heavily on my mind. A lot would have changed, it may be bigger, better, prettier now, but you'll still long to see it the way you left it, to smell the flowers you saw bloom, to see the views that you left behind. What you see is a bigger renovated church with no traces of te candles you lit or the broken benches where you sat and prayed, you enter a bigger, swankier coffee shop with a new colour theme, the message board where you put up a smiley note for your friends is no longer there, the Mall no longer has the short cartoonist who would sketch your portrait for Rs 40, the tiny eat-out by the beach that served delicious burgers for just Rs 20 has been replaced by a post eatery, the Park now closes by 6 p.m. and you can no longer take a latenight walk with your loved one/friends, and your friend has moved into a bigger apartment, the bright, airy rooms are gone and yor favourite floor cushion has been replaced by large sofas. Change sweeps it all away, gives it a new, today look.
The few places that I've lived have made me what I AM. The many cities that I wish to make my home for at least a short period will add more to ME, will gift me many more flavours, aromas, memories and friends.

June 3, 2010

Cheers to you, my friend

You have met them, you have spoken to them, you have spend time with them...but you have never noticed them or never understood them. We have our family, our friends, our colleagues, our here & there group, our gym buddies, our neighbours, and then there are people who have been part of our lives at different times for different reasons. Maybe a friend's friend, a cousin's classmate, a colleague's cousin, a neighbour's niece/nephew or just someone you met at a party, a driving class, a day at the parlour, in a bank counter or just somewhere. A smile, a hello, a few courtesy talk and their forgotten.
On another day in another phase of your life, you come across the very same person, and you probably don't even recognise him/her. The embarrassment of a weak memory put behind, again a smile, a hello, a courtesy catch up on the years gone by, and before you realise you're chatting and chatting and chatting and enjoying it too. It's a situation I've been in more than once in my life. People I have met but not bothered to know, have in some later point made a re-entry into my life and found a special place. A wonderful friend, a mentor to tame my madness, a brother-figure and more. You've met him/her not more than twice, spoken to them maybe thrice in the past ten years, but suddenly in the past one hour you've chatted like age-old friends. How many of us have had such an experience? I have.
Each time I've been glad I went through it. Each time I have earned myself a good friend, interesting companion and a fun person who's added smiles and laughter in my life. Just found one such person yesterday. A casual hello, a little general chit chat and there we were joking, arguing, discussing and laughing loud. It was so easy to be myself without worrying what he/she might think. With some people you just know, they'll understand and respect you for what you are. We joked, spoke about the most random things, discussed our relationships, our family, even planned a secret mission. (Let the secret remain!).
You've been an absolute sweetheart S. And remember we have more tales to tell over that cup of coffee...

June 1, 2010

Live. Love. Let Go.

Laundry, cleaning up, cooking, paying bills, hunting for a new maid...today wasn't the easiest or laziest of days for me. Lying in bed finishing two books over cups of coffee, soulful music in the background, a feel-good mail from a crazy buddy, a de-stressing chat with a friend, the company of solitude...today was one of the best days I had in the recent times. I can't remember the last time I managed to read through at least half of a book without a dozen interruptions: calls from the maid, demands from my little son, random people who think it's polite to ring the door bell at least thrice, answering phone calls and what not! The only thing missing today was the rains. While it stormed and rained (and even hailstorms happened) in neighbouring cities, Mr. Sun chose to be extra nice to us and beamed brighter and brighter all day.
No complaints though. I loved every bit of the day including the times I lay in bed, staring into the nothingness while my mind was busy re-running a conversation it hoped would happen. It hasn't yet but am not giving up hope just yet. The mind was on a time-machine ride, jumping from one 'phase in life' to another at the press of a button. Browsed through the many people I met, some who found a special place in my heart and life, some whom I wished to place in a cosy corner but were gone too soon, some I still hope to meet one day and offer a lovely corner of my mind, my life.
It's funny how sometimes we ride on a certain train of thought and soon we hear or read someone else say the same. So it happened with me today. During it's time machine trip, my mind was wondering and weighing the significance of 'The Forever Love'. Does it really exist? Can we find true love in one person forever. My life forces me to say No. I believe in love. I love the idea of being in love, of being loved. But finding one love and believing it to be the true forever love is a crazy idea. How does one know he/she is The One? I've heard people say: 'You just feel a bond'. Sure you do, but how do you know it's for life!
I have lived, loved and lost. Loved again and lost again. None of it has weakened my belief in love and my love for love. I still love, truly, madly, deeply...rejoice in it, revel in it. But is it forever, I don't know. I often love in part and pieces. I so easily fall in love with a voice, with an expression, a look, a gesture. It is easy to fall in love, to surrender to the moment and enjoy it while it lasts. Do not complicate it with the burden of a 'Forever Tag'. Do not spoil the beauty of the moment by forcing it into a lifetime locker. Enjoy the dimples, the smiles, the touch, the kiss and don't drag them along till your wrinkle-days. Live. Love. Let Go.