I think therefore I am

March 16, 2007

The Duck docks here

Wish I were as eloquent as Ellen!
(I was inspired to blog by her and it is appropriate that I link to her even in my last post here.)

I started blogging not only as a form of catharsis but also to keep my immediate family (including my most dear friends in far away Delhi) updated about all that was happening to me in my life at Bangalore.

Dh would often tease me that I should post my intensely personal updates to those who would be able to follow the drift of my random thoughts. My kids would debate on what should or not feature on my blog. My friends would read and respond, offline of course.

But gradually it changed. There were more friends, colleagues, dh's colleagues, relatives, acquaintances and others reading this blog. Given the extremely up-close and personal stuff I put in here, I think its time to stop this blog.

I shall, no doubt, continue to quack a lot, - but not here.

Lets get quacking...

February 06, 2007


to go.

With my present levels of apathy and fatigue, wish he had stopped by, but given that there will be time for that and more, heres this and also this!

Yet another milestone around the corner, a significant one, if we go by what Newsweek says.

January 20, 2007

Of late

Of late

I see a yawning distance creeping in
Between us, a swelling gap,
The rend getting too big to mend
The organic link, shriveling

There will never be a vacuum.
The distance will continue to extend
Others would step in to mark the milestones
And like elastic, it would keep stretching.

At times you may rush back to me
Seeking some sustenance, solace, else,
Some tangible manifestation
Of how things were or would be

Occasionally, I may claim you again
To just hold against my bosom
To validate my achievement
To proclaim my nebulous hold

Meanwhile, there would be others
With significant, strong needs
Who would play out distinctive roles
And seek the matching recompense

As you grow, we grow apart
You strike out on your path
I wish you would climb high, wander wide, delve deep
Savor the thrills, experience the ecstasies
And that I could but be along on all those rides
Yet for all that we need to disentangle, disengage

These profuse wishes are of little avail
Unless I give you the freedom to fly
The space and time to test your strengths
And uncharted waters to try, and plumb

On these journeys which are yours alone
Your companions, I may not invariably approve
But would learn to school my censure
And not deny you the right to choose

No other woman can be what I am
And I cannot be what they would be
It is an uneasy treaty- no foes, but still
To surrender a vital part of me- you,
To them, who may not know your value to me

No other woman can be so thrilled
By your warm hugs, your deep kisses,
The feeling of knowing you within,
Your moist soft mouth at her breast,
Your eyes forever trained, mutely,
Your words which followed, so sweetly,
Your pranks, your serenades,
Your triumphs, your disappointments-
All these, are eternally mine alone.

I would treasure this familiarity
In my heart, my womb, my lips, my eyes
Each pore of me which has known each cell of yours

Others would crave and know your love
And you would similarly sip theirs
While I stand guard at this fount
That we discovered and shared

You always resent that you weren’t my first -
You wish to alter that order
But does this primacy matter
In a mere issue of sequence?

Lets settle this row once for all -
You are the shiny bright pearl
Charmer, soldier, my own treasure,
I commend you to the world.

January 15, 2007

A gut feel of pain

It was meant to be an hour long 'exploratory' abdominal surgery- they didn't know what exactly was wrong.

The X-rays did not reveal the cause of the steady decline, the green aspirate, the abstinence which made the Doctor's advice of Nil Per Oral so totally redundant, listless eyes which had aged over that week of suffering and had gone beyond pain, the scooped out hollows which constantly asked but one question- how long the torture would continue, how much more the shrivelled body had to bear its burden of shallow breath.

They wanted the mother to be there till he 'went down' under anaesthesia and to be around when he came to. So all there in the green pant suits and green caps set about their work like so many workers in a green-uniformed factory, all working on that tiny body under strong lights. You can leave now and wait in the recovery room of the OT for about an hour, they said.

They cut in to realise the extent of internal damage, the rotten portions of gut to be cut cleanly without spilling any of the lethal toxicity it had acquired, and then the subsequent stitching of the gut with each vessel being matched and patched together like a complex but vital jigsaw puzzle. Anastamosis is not an easy job!

They worked fast and furiously, staunching the blood, topping the anaesthesia, introducing appropriate levels of morphine, checking on vitals.

They were half way done before they realised the enormity of the exercise. There is just so much of anaesthesia that 12 kilos of body weight can take. They would lose him if more topping up was done and the option was to do the actual stapling when he was 'coming to'.

Someone needs to hold him, to calm him - not only to mitigate the pain which the morphine was unable to deal with but to deal with the mute terror in those eyes which accused the world much more sharply than the piercing shriek, like that of a lamb at slaughter.

The hard nosed professionals that they all were- handpicked for such eventualities, they had to call in the mother again.

Later, much later, in the ICU the anaesthetist came in to check. But she did not look at the post-operative patient at all. She looked at me, one mother to another, and said, It isn't easy being a mother, is it? I looked down at the exhausted bandaged bloodied bag of bones, tubes, pipes and monitors which was precariously clutching at me, pulling on my heart strings just much as yanking at my hair. I saw an intrepid spirit there, a physical manifestation of Life itself, dry heaving and wracked in a terrified, traumatised, irregular tattoo of tachycardic breath. I wished to take away all that pain through those fluttering kisses lightly touching his hair.

But her eyes pleaded with me, beseeching me to forgive her for hurting my baby. I transferred the teensiest-weensiest bit of my attention to her. She was in tears. She, the doctor and me, the mother of the sick baby. The roles reversed completely.

The words came gushing out and she started telling me how it hurt her to see her juvenile diabetic daughter suffer and how being a mother is so tough. As the tears flowed, the words came out faster. I was holding her hand (didn't know I had a hand to spare) and comforting her much as gently as I was stroking my baby and as strongly as I was telling myself that it would all be OK.

January 12, 2007

Break Break Break - Disorder Changeth

Happiness is not a possession to be prized. It is a quality of thought, a state of mind.

Guess the accepted thing to say about my non-blogging would be to crib about the desertion by a muse and how the flow of creative juices has all but dried up... but how about the truth for a change?
The fact is that for ADD-afflicted me, this blog has lost its limited (at best dubious) charm and am reluctant to waste more bytes on it.

Plus want to organise myself better in this year which promises to bring MUCH change in my life.

And have PLENTY of things to sort out in the real non-blog world and not time enough to do a halfway decent job of getting those things done.

Am terribly disorganised and tend to be obsessive at nearly all the diversely varied and immensely interesting things(!) that I take up and compulsively see through till the damn end.
(The words 'obsessive' and 'compulsive' together in a single sentence, draw your own conclusions, dear reader!)

Most pertinently, my maid has abandoned me (I continue to live is another matter!) and am obsessively compulsively perversely scouring dishes, doing laundry and various other domestic chores which have taken over my former on-line hours. So all you who flocked to my blog are hereby invited to drop in to check out the fare at the table, the shine of the cutlery, and all the rest (see I am still learning).

Au revoir or as a
favourite icon would have said, Je Reviens (chez nous?)!

Or lets just say,
brb huhn? :)


There are maids lurking in the horizon but resolutely, I still hold my ground, not hiring them and surrendering my soul to them. DH, when he visits us occasionally from his busy work schedule, is worried as he knows that I may well be perverse but am also inconsistent and that any moment the dam would burst. Meanwhile I wallow in my domestic drugde surfacing for but a few moments online.

The upside is that the kids are loving my 'genius' at cooking (they thought their mom could just NOT cook!) and kissing my fingers when they get time off from licking the 'divine dishes' off their fingers! DS has even learnt to appreciate things other than the spuds - if this was all it took, wish I had done this earlier! :)

January 03, 2007

A Beacon and a Rant!

Needless to say, as is evident from the title of this post and the tone of the previous one, I aint starting this year on the high notes.

The more things change, ... Another year finds me on a course of treatment, errm, management which was offered to me over a decade ago! Hullo 2007, err, is it 1995 again?? *sigh*

I was floundering along, on my precarious, and thankfully, rarely used heels, mooching about in my gloamy gloom late one night, last week, (attending a marriage reception of a friend's son) with the vacuous smile plastered onto my dreary face, when one of my beacons, she called. Thankfully, I did not have to explain, she soon realised the depths of my dark despair. She is one of the few who can reach me through my fogs. She beamed a message in a song. Given that she is the punjab ki kudi, I expected some tappa-shappa which she does send every now and then. (There was a teensy fear that she may lapse into Chitra Singh, even though she knows how I hate THAT) But then anchor and beacon, she surprised me with this in her sweet angel voice.

God bless beacons.

The next morn was no better and I was tempted to beg off my usual hospital rounds. DH insisted I go and dd (being rather worried for her silly old mom who has 'lost it') tagged along. We were doing great together till suddenly there was a storm. A gaggle of women totally incoherent and wailing loudly in different pitches and scales assaulted all our senses. They had wheeled in an adolescent girl, who seemed totally inert. But as quickly as the storm came, it passed. Constrained by dd's presence, I did not do anything actively to help any one of that group and was merely relieved that the storm blew over so quickly. (Did I mention that I felt very cowardly that moment?) Maybe it was just a LOT of over-reaction from the hysterical folk, I hoped.

But then, this truth biz, it has a way of getting out and catching up with one. I learnt that the girl had committed a crime under Section 309 of the IPC and was denied admission in the hospital because the hospital did not wish to be tainted with the consequences of the treatment of a criminal.

And the country is worrying itself silly about some Section 377!!! But then that subject is far more glamourous and happening, aint it? How insensitive we are as a nation and just how antequated.

NOTHING absolves me of the guilt of keeping quiet and not offering the minimal help and support I could have given to that group of women.

Wonder what happened to that little girl!

December 30, 2006

It flows on

Yet another milestone to mark the passage of Time. Yet another looking back and taking stock, trying in vain to make some sense of the absurdity of the exercise of marking Time.

No more deep long expirations at the end of this year. Just a short fervent wish for Hope and Fortitude, to keep things going with the flow.

No exuberance (irrational or other wise), just wishes.

December 14, 2006


The hand is much better! But the blog break continues.

Meanwhile, I am sharing some heavenly images of some time spent at Lakshadweep sometime in March 2005.

Blue ain't so bad, is it?

December 03, 2006


Last time I had written this for the World Dis Abled Day from the perspective of mothers of children born with disabilities.

But what of disabilities acquired later in childhood or those of previously 'normal' adults? Typically the first reaction is of disbelief- 'This can't be happening to me. This must a bad dream.' Then realisation brings in its wake the Why Me? set of questions.

Some try to find anwers to those Why me questions even while grappling with the new and multiple challenges that disability brings in its wake. Some get so embroiled in seeking answers to these questions (at some airy fairy level- psychological, metaphysical, karmic or even a more worldly level of apportioning blame on others) that they cannot actually DO anything to help themselves. They get stuck in self-defeating loops till they gradually lose touch with their realities and start to live in a sad world of their own.

Some others lose themselves in the new grind which suddenly makes all their prior routines so rich in comparison. They start 'coping'. The skills they use may range from workarounds to seeking out help. Another not-so-easy but nevertheless done much to death coping mechanism is the martyr act. Looking upon suffering as noble, a salvation, as it were.

And the stresses are many- economic (health care is expensive), social, attitudinal, physical. And they take their toll in so many ways. On the work relationships, on even relationships in the family, with parents, siblings, spouses, self image raising difficult to deal with issues of self worth, and finally, of course the higher questions of does Someone/Anyone (God?) love me.

These may be a few of the issues one keeps in the mind when coming across any links to 'organise, take part and celebrate' Disabled day not merely by those have easy e-accessability.

Happy Coping all ye enabled ones!
Ping back!

P.S. Just as I posted this, my long time support group and virtual family went through a convulsive shake-up. (If I retain any semblence of sanity today it is due to the tremendous support, love and affection I have got from these my family members.) I guess all families go through these, but then they are very painful.

November 29, 2006


Thanks folks for all the kind wishes for handicapped me. Miss you folk and hope to catch up soon. I've started finally with PT though still not taken any pain-killers or muscle relaxants. I know I am far from the ideal patient but am at least patiently waiting for the pain to pass. And it shall. :)

Meanwhile, a random post about this that and nothing very much...

We'd bought a karaoke system recently which made ds discover an amazing repertoire of songs from Ricky Martin to Mohd. Rafi and he has great taste too in picking up songs to learn! But he gave bathroom singing a whole new twist when he grinned naughtily and sang Rim jhim gire Snaanam!

We got free (?) tickets to Abs-2 complete with the popcorn coupons! The abs on display were fantabulous. Nothing else was worth a mention. The small (debatable) mercy was that AB baby's abs were seen covered throughout the movie! I was predetermined to dislike the movie for the simple reason that there was no JA. Hrithik aint no Johnnie, despite all his six pack abs, smooth dance steps and the where in the world take this film should have rightly been called Krishh 2 not a sequel to Dhoom. The family had much fun tearing the movie apart.

The recent hoohaa about this made me think of the more famous parallel. Would things be very different for Bharti than they were for Sahiba?

Ain't that a long left handed post?

November 20, 2006

Left/ Right

The cardboard hero of the Mahabharata, Arjuna was true to type- macho, indecisive, insecure about his mother's love for him, competitive, exploitative, suppressing all legit competitors by fair means or foul, polygamous - the epitome, as it were, of Indian malehood. There was one thing, however, truly remarkable about him. The facet of Arjuna which fascinated me, made me blind to all his faults and made a hero of him in my eyes, from was that one of his appellations was Savyasachi (the ambidextrous one).

While I can do a few simple tricks like writing backwards and to a limited extent even writing longhand with my left hand, I cannot type with my left. This and other such constraints to my ambidexterity are made very apparent to me now that my right wrist is afflicted with RSI.

So folks till my right rights itself, among other things, no more blog hopping for me and no more posts here...

November 13, 2006

Happy Chill-ones day!

It started as early as the first of November itself. The initial excitement started with Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties that the school is organising a trip to.

Then one evening when I came home dog-tired as usual, there was an insistent shrill demand that I make a chart of Chacha Nehru, followed by other such demands. There were many discussions and questions regarding the man and why his birthday meant that all kids could have a day off. After much of this grilling, I was on the receiving end. I was being told by my little one how everyone should love children, be kind to them and celebrate and have a great time on chilluns day.

Celebrate childhood!

PS: Show me a woman
who is not guilty and I'll show you man- said 'feminist' Erica Jong. But then O. Henry thought it could be the man too who could be The Guilty Party. On children's day (ouchie, sounding a bit preachy) lets remember to do our bit by the kids of the world, most importantly, our own.

November 05, 2006

The makings of a Bengaloorean?

During the Suvarna Rajyotsava week , I took a trip out of State.

Went just across the border on a short hop to Kerala. As usual the pace was hectic there. Things were happening, or were they? There was a road strike and had miles to go on those narrow ribbony roads through the furiously fast untamed traffic (at least in contrast to my now-becalmed Bengalooru senses).

It was a major-shock for me - a reflection of how the others (aka non-Bengalooreans) live. The sweat literally poured out in rivulets. The heat was an assault of all ones senses, especially the visual and the olfactory. One longed for the beautiful Bengalooru weather.

And whats with the men outside of Bengalooru? They actually
STARED. In namma Bengalooru if one as much as looks at another person, he, and it would be a 'he' of course, would smile nicely before converting his curious gaze into a downward glance.

Later, was discussing this with dh and he asked, So what did you do there then? And I had to reply sheepishly, that I reverted quite seamlessly to my dilli-waali self!

November 01, 2006

Cheers again!

It was still the early chapters of The Pelican Brief. Strange how some irrelevant associations endure and they usually point to books I was reading when something significant was happening in my life. But that Thursday night, I was reading it and reading it rather desultorily.

Without any prejudice to the writer or the plot, let me explain why it was so. There was a growing unease within me which was extremely discomfiting, unlike anything I had ever felt before, induced both by my own body and exaggerated by the slooow Syntocinon drip on my right arm, which produced syncope-like feelings. In addition were the gut-wrenching moans and wails from the invisible woman in the next cubicle, a primi who had to undergo the labours of ejecting a piece of tissue which had grown in her for eight months before quitting spontaneously. Far more disturbing than all these was the
low but clear tones of a discussion that two people were clinically having in that unreal endless night- the burden of the conversation and an extremely heavy burden it was, was how the two women wished they did not ever have daughters as girls would have to undergo all the travails of child bearing which they were exposed to as Ob-Gyns day and night.

What disturbed me was not the fact that these were not merely trained educated doctors speaking but that they were real women and yet did not feel the joys of being a woman. All through my pregnancy I had fervently hoped for a daughter and I could not believe my ears that here were women (women who participate in the birthing process, no less) who wished that their own progeny did not participate in the most visible celebration of life!


A dear friend of mine, one of my 'anchors', is from the cultural (and very political) holy city from the banks of the Ganga whose guavas are as sweet as the language and fine sensibilities of its people.

Now constrained by physical distance, we talk over the phone about this and that and all the rest that goes into our lives- about birds in the bird bath, crows having a parliament and such important matters. During the course of one such invigorating session, she asked me to listen to both the versions of this song- this and that. She knows just how much I appreciate these songs so I presumed that the newer version of Umrao Jaan would, if any, be better - with songs to match.

Alas, more fool me - the lyrics of Shahryar and the music of Khayyam with even a ge
m of Khusro, how could they be matched by a 'politically correct' poet who receives such public proclaim and is even proclaimed by his enlightened wife of having re-written history.


When I was pregnant with my second child, I had to, for some obscure reasons, undergo five ultrasound scans- four of them with a self-proclaimed expert radiologist who never picked up the congenital defect my baby was born with but invariably harped on whether I wanted to know whether I'd have a cricketer or a cheerleader. No, I did not take him to court, which he deserved to be especially given his acclaimed academic background, though some may pig-headedly disagree.

At the end, if I were to do things again, I'd say agle janam mohe bitiya hi kijo. Now to talk to my friend...

October 29, 2006

Lumping back

After the extended festivities, this lump of lard finds herself limping back to get on with her life. Diwali was great as was the wedding which followed immediately. Met plenty of family, yakked non-stop, compared notes, dressed, matched, accessorised, gossiped family gossip, fought, wept, umm, the whole range you know.

It was fun while it lasted but now is payback time and all those 'empty' calories need to be worked off. With my wavering resolve, it devolved on dh to give me the push and he accompanied me to the gym this morning even while I sought to reduce the punishment to a longish walk to Ulsoor Lake.

The greetings began with one of the gym trainers talking enthusiastically about the beautiful, wet and cloudy Bangalore morning and how it was likely that the sun may not appear all day as I had actually taken the trouble of coming to the gym this am! The other trainers there had their share of similar jibes apart from pokes at my ribs (under all those layers of adipose). Love these guys and their easy banter which makes even an over-the-hill matron feel kind of special!

Given that we went so late, neither the usual morning studs were seen nor were the lissome svelte PYTs there, and both dh and I feasted our eyes on the Tiger in the Park on ESPN to the strains of Worldspace music which was blaring.

Back home I was exhausted, sweaty, aching and while all else remained the same, I am a bigger, fatter me! :(

(I know this is not much of a post, but bear with limping lumpa me- as Statcounter tells me the same people keep coming bak to check my blog whether I post or not!)

October 16, 2006

At The Eighth Hole - You've come a Long Way Baby

Some time before six a.m. on a dewy nippy morning at the Golf Greens in Bangalore.

A group of three men (along with their dedicated caddies) were restlessly awaiting the arrival of one who would complete the four-ball and let them tee off when their tee-time came. The minutes were ticking by and they dreaded the letter (Memo, it is officiously called) which came from Honorary Secretary the pulling up all those who did not show up after booking the time-sheet.

Sixth of an hour and still no show!

Till a saviour angel walked by. 'Hi guys', she said cheerily. 'Waiting for a fourth? Mind if I join your three-ball?' 'Oh yeah, do!', they chorussed, even while they did the typical male mental shrug about ladies' tee
, minding their language around the lady and all the male cracks at lady drivers (even if they be golf drivers!). But the caddies- they knew her better! Knew that she meant business and that her drive was as straight and long as her corporate strategies. They'd be safe in putting their money on her.

Of course the game started and the three golfers felt special to be actually playing with such a powerful woman- whom they have known only from the talk at the nineteenth or all those Page 3 reports. Her power came through in her drive. It was a Big power game with the three alpha males strutting while the most powerful of the four ball was, the lady.

Grudgingly they were coming around to admit that her drive was as good and straight on the golf course as her shots reportedly were in the corporate circuit. They were totally in awe of her game and then it happened.

She suddenly turned to her caddy at the Eight hole and issued some rapid fire instructions.

The guys looked at each other in loud silence- had they actually heard her saying 'that'?

She realised their sudden discomfort and repeated calmly and clearly for their befuddled male brains. 'OK guys, I have started my period and I've have asked the caddy to go and fetch me some pads. You guys can walk ahead and I'll catch up with you at the 9th hole. '

She directed them to move but set off herself before they could collect their faculties. She left three golfers agape in her wake!

October 13, 2006

Fine Tunes

Atul, who recently tagged me, had another tag on songs and tunes (which has been implicitly limited though not expressly so to Hindi film lyrics) too which he passed on to some of his fellow bloggers.

Though unbidden, I feel tempted to take this one up - only thing being that I do it my way!

The first question of the tag is: Who is your favourite lyricist and which lyrics do you remember the most? My entire post is limited to that one query. I confess to being totally in love with Sahir sa'ab and cannot lump him with any other- so this is dedicated only to Sahir songs.

Such a prolific and popular poet, is it possible for me to pick out his best or come up with a Top 20 list? No. For that you may look here though more of his poetry is there. Or hear him here though Amitabh really brings out the best of a part of his talkhiyaan in the bit from the other kabhi kabhi.

So what do I attempt? Not a top 10 or 20 (sacrilegious), not even all my favourites (that would be too long). All I list here are some of his lesser heard songs I love and wish I could hear more often, from films like Shagun and Phir Subah Hogi) The songs are listed in alphabetic order and not in any order of preference- love them all.

(the lyrics of nearly all these songs are available here)

aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo janam safal ho jaaye

aasma pe hai khuda aur zameen pe hum,
aaj kal voh is taraf dekhta hai kum

abhi na jao chhod ke (the Asha part more than the Rafi part)
*(jahaan mein aisa kaun hai ki jis ko gham mila nahi)*

chiin-o-arab hamara, hindoostan hamara

itni nazuk na bano, haay, itni nazuk na bano

kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai
ke zindagi teri zulfon ke narm chhaao.n mein

maine poochha use ke kaun hai
haske boli ke main hoon tera pyaar
main tere dil mein thi hamesha se
ghar me aayi hoon aaj pehli baar
- mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari

parbato ke dero pe sham ka basera hai
surmayi ujjala hai champayi andhera hai

pyaar par bas to nahi hai lekin
phir bhi bataa de ki main tujhse pyaar karu.n ya na karu.n

tum agar mujh ko na chaho to koi baat nahi
tum kisi aur ko chahogi to mushkil hogi

tum mujhe bhool bhi jao to yeh haq hai tum ko
meri baat aur hai maine to mohabbat ki hai

har ek jism ghayal har ik rooh pyaasi
nighao.n mein uljhan dilo mein udaasi ...
- tum hari hai tumhi sambhalo ye duniya

humko taqdeer se be-vajaha shikayat kyun ho
isi taqdeer ne chahat ki khushi bhi di thhi
aaj agar kaampte palko.n ko diye hain aasoo

kal thirakte hue hooto.n ko hasi bhi di thi
- zindagi zulm sahi zabr sahi gham hi sahi
dil ke faryaad sahi rooh ka maatam hi sahi

The enduring spirit of Sahir! And the fine tunes.

October 07, 2006

A tag of eight

Another tag. Another eight.

Atul tagged me this time and while all the others he tagged seem to have smartly come up with their own versions of the tag, I have dawdled over this not knowing what else I could say about me which my limited readership does not already know about me.

1. I am known to perform and hold sustained that extremely complicated yogic asana for extended periods of time, the classic foot-in-mouth asana.

2. My nose swells quite independent of the rest of me- especially when I begin to cry, which is often.

3. I shake like a jelly when I laugh, which is often too.

4. I preen at my kids and can spend hours, even days, grooming and cleaning

5. I love eating bread (white, brown, warm, old, fresh, soft, fibre-rich, garlicky, flaky, buttery, cheesy, banana, raagi bread- you name it) and can actually spend the rest of life feeding on bread. Alas! I don't.

6. I am fiercely protective of all those whom I adopt as my own. I am NOT a soccer mom but can often lapse into the Mom-Fom-Hell mode.

7. I am very impressed by all the well-groomed folk, but can relate instantly to those whose hair is a bit, umm, disarrayed.

8. I appreciate people who sing and recite well, even while I am godawfully off-key myself.

And what of this tag? All of you who read this, please take this one and attempt your own tag of eight.

October 05, 2006

Grace to Blush

He loves me. I know.

He tests me. Tests my love for Him. Tests my sensibilities. Tests my sensitivities.

He shows me a preference. An indication that I am among the chosen few from amongst the teeming multitude.

He shows me respect in the eyes of the lout who who yanks poor arms before hurtling them this way or that.

He loves me, I know.

Thank you God, for the gift of Grace to blush.

October 03, 2006

The World Is So Small

(Or why I should walk more)

This evening I came home with my ample shoulders bearing the burden of all my onerous woes to see ds fallen asleep waiting for his amma to reach home. I felt further burdened by the guilt trip we working women have and was about to sink into my scowly sulky self, when I decided to step out.
Just be back in a mo. I said and strode out before any protests could begin. Keeping me company was an obscure NFAK track from an album called Nach ke Manava Yaar nu, which believe it or not sounded like, ugh! Tere bina bhi kya jeena. You know just how low things are if Nusrat sa'ab sounds like a Kal-An song! But just the sheer momentum of moving, striding purposefully in a totally random fashion helped. I'll just pick up a fresh loaf of the Daily B and run back home, I thought. I turned into the neighbourhood Food World ready to pounce on any unwary creature who may be lurking there but lo n be!

Flashback to February this year.
I sat extremely nervously at the waiting chambers of a flourishing gynae with a budding practice, among very pregnant females and feeling quite at sea there. But then having made some promises, I had to keep them too. I had with me a tiny red draw-string bag which I wished to stuff with goodies for a sweet girl. I wanted to embroider it with some suitable pattern, but was quite at a loss. I tried out some patterns, took them out, then some colour schemes. Wasn't too sure. Looked up to see the bright curious eyes of an obvious primi (nearly full term) and suddenly I didn't feel so out of place there. We made friends with each other by holding out different coloured strands of Anchor thread and golden glitter and soon swapped tales of our childhoods, schools, jobs and what have you! We parted promising to keep in touch with each other, but you know how it is- we lost touch.
And now here she was with a bonny baby in tow in mine own Food World! I burst in shrilly screeching Hiiii (without much concern for other denizens of that World) and then (not quite remembering her name) stepped back a bit in case she didn't remember me- but oh! sweetholymother she did! We hugged, shared our updates over the past few months of not being in touch(!), and then did the ultimate feminine talk of swapping birthing tales. I picked up and hugged and cooed over baby, while she gurgled happily and drooled various fluids on my shoulder.
After hearing about burst waters, 30 hours of non-progression of labour, C-section, excellent birth weight, the sweet temperament of baby, perfect regimen of feeding, a successful annaprashana, the first cold of the god child, I did feel better.
PS: This time I gave the mom my number and promised we'll be in touch more.
PPS: BTW, I returned home empty handed as there was not one loaf of bread on the shelves there today!

October 02, 2006

Very Hungry

I am hungry for air. What abominable pain it is to be denied air. And I speak not merely of asthma or physically apparent respiratory distress, but the more insiduous distresses with which we cramp our lives.

Whenever the going is good and I OD, there it manifests itself, this hunger. There, and immediately then, I desperate need to drop all, run away and take in lungfuls of air. Air untarnished by the breath of others. No odours from the past or the present, no obstructions to my pathways, no shocks to my blood gases. I cannot allow my aspirations to mix with my vital processes, without risk of very dire consequences.

Gimme my mandatory dose of plenty of air (as fresh as it can get!)

Note: This post was on my lappy as a draft for over two months. Glad to have finally expelled it!

September 25, 2006

Probashi phorever

This entire post is about dh, notwithstanding his earlier misgivings about being featured on this blog.

He was born in Calcutta - lived there for just the first couple of years of his life or so - but then you know it, he is a probashi for life. Given that he went for his first Durgo immersion (without informing folks at home) at the tender age of two, the time he misses Calcutta most is obviously during Durga Puja. Whether it be the politics and sport of pandal or para, he misses Calcutta so!

I had dh sing his
(just one among many) ode to Cal songs and it was pleasingly enough for me, Sumaner gaan. So here are a clip (in dh's voice) and the full lyrics of one of the prime of Kabir Suman , which I got from here.

prothomoto ami tomake chai, ditioto ami tomake chai
tritioto ami tomake chai, shesh porjonto tomake chai.
nijhum ondhokare tomake chai, ratbhor hole ami tomake chai
shokaler koishore tomake chai, shondher obokashe tomake chai.
boishakhi jhore ami tomake chai, asharer meghe ami tomake chai
srabone srabone ami tomake chai, okal bodhone ami tomake chai.

kobekar kolkata shohorer pothe, purono notun mukh ghore imarote
ogonti manusher klanto michile, ochena chhutir chhowa tumi ene dile
nagorik klantite tomake chai, ek fota shantite tomake chai
bohudur hete eshe tomake chai, e jibon bhalobeshe tomake chai.

chourastar mor'e-park'e-dokan'e, shohor'e-gonz'e-gram'e-ekhane-okhane
station terminus ghate bondore, ochena drawing room'er chena bondor'e
balish-toshok-katha-purono chadore, thanda sheet'er raat'e leper ador'e
kadi kathey, coukathe , madurey paposhey , hashi-raag-oviman-jhogra-aposhe

tomake chai, tomake chai, tomake chai, tomake chai.

ek cup chaa'e ami tomake chai, daine o baye ami tomake chai
dekha na dekhai ami tomake chai, na bola kothai ami tomake chai.

shirshendur kono notun novel e, hothat porte bosha abol tabole
oboddho kobita ar thungri-kheyal'e, slogane slongane-dhaka deyale deyale
Sholil Chowdhury'r fele asha gan'e, Chaurasiya'r bashi mukhorito pran'e
bhule jaowa Himangshu Dutta'r shur'e, shei kobekar onurodher ashor'e.
tomake chai, tomake chai, tomake chai, tomake chai.
onurodh'e, minoti-te tomake chai, bedona'r arti-te tomake chai
dabi-daowa-chahida'i tomake chai, lojja-didha'i ami tomake chai.

odhikar bujhe neya prokhor dabite, shararat jege anka loraku chhobi te
chhipchhipe kobitar chhonde bhashay, buddhi'r juktite bachar ashai
srenihin shomajer chiro bashonai, din bodol'er dhora chetonai
didha-dondher din ghochhar shopne, shammyobad'er dak ghume-jagorone
bikkhobe-biplobe tomake chai, bishon oshomvobe tomake chai
shanti oshantite tomake chai, ei bibhranti-te tomake chai.

Happy Durga Puja folks! :)

PS: Here it is, finally posted the audio clip! Ok, am very proud of dh's singing skills- so go ahead and download & enjoy this :)

September 23, 2006


*Drop Everything And Read*

Ever since childhood I read stuff. I can not claim any credit for that reading because all around me there always were plenty of books. The 'right' books. No 'trash' was allowed to us at home and somehow it never seemed to matter that I was reading Arthur Miller when I was 8 and Freud while I was 14 (pretty irrelevant was how much of it I could understand and assimilate!). I was still in school in pigtails and scruffy shoes when I read The Second Sex (my first Bible). There never was any time for me to read frivolous stuff which my contemporaries were surreptitiously deciphering. I could read Sons and Lovers and Women in Love before I ever was permitted to read a vapid romance(Lady C. came later though). Georgette Heyer was on, Danielle Steele wasn't. Shaw was on but James Hadley Chase & Harold Robbins weren't (back then!)

School was a lark with a wonderful library and a delightfully charming librarian. I have yet to come across anyone as dignified and graceful and yet so firmly in control over the
legions of louts who used to fidget through the mandatory Library period every week. Library was really a place where I could sit (very quietly) and forget the whole world and read. Whether it was a classic or a reference text, the library was always well-stocked and yet we would often complain about a missing book- and wondrously, it would appear on the shelves, with its fresh scent, within weeks. A favourite haunt of mine, when I was bunking classes in school, was the library (more often than the streets of Sunder Nagar!) and far more difficult to be in because, unlike being in Sweets Corner, one had to come up with valid excuses to justify one's presence at the Library. But then, like most of my teachers, Mrs. Jalil was rather kind to me and did not interrupt my education!

College was where I came into my own. One had absolute and total freedom within those all girls gates- may be a bit stultifying but it was
a haven. There were so many nooks and corners one could curl up in and spend hours- the most favourite being the library with its low divans and bolster pillows in the little favoured musty upstairs reading room. I was not too interested in poring over the text books, which would be hidden among the non-related reference books racks by the girls who not only wanted to do well academically but also wished to seal their success by ensuring others' failure. The reference library was a delight. I would wait for the gaggle of giggly girls to leave by their 1.30, or latest by the 2.30 Specials, and stay on till late evening, till finally hunger would drive me home. In between would be the ambles across to other colleges in the campus and a few beyond too. There would be slide shows, discussions, seminars, demonstrations, movie screenings (docu-edu-tainment only!), walks in the Ridge and much discussion and debate of ideas and thoughts- all of which would push me back to Drop Everything And Read.

I would read everywhere- at home- in bed, at the table, in the loo, in the buses (which were NOT Specials and therefore were adrenaline surcharged ideal 'eve-teasing' environment), in libraries, in parks, under trees, in coffee-houses, over hot steaming chai, just about everywhere. It helped that there were others around me who paced me, because try as I might, I could never compete with my Sis in either the width or depth of reading. I read nearly all I could lay my hands on and with the passage ot time became increasingly inclusive in reading much more than I read - BUT there were limitations. I could never read 'trash', however hard I tried to break the childhood hex. I could never go past the initial unease with sci-fi which I developed an aversion to early in life - whether it be Wells or Kingsley I shunned them even while I loved Verne. After the initial unfortunate exposure to Bunyan, I could never pick up a preachy Christian tale, however fantastically well-written.

And there was the limitation of language. English and Hindi were, and remain to this day, the only languages which I can read and write in. I could not read as much of Hindi as I wanted. I regret that I haven't read as much of the modern Hindi literature as I could have.

And now, off for some DEAR time, dearies.

NOTE: The term DEAR was introduced to me by a school in which ds was fortunate enough to enrol but could not study beyond one month as we moved to Bangalore.

September 21, 2006


CP & I

NOTE: This post is not, repeat NOT, about dh or my marriage. This post, like the rest of this unleavened blog, is about me.

As a child I was notoriously shy. There were stories of how people had to bend extremely low to be able to hear me apart from the tales of how I never seemed to pay any attention, be interested in any thing around me. I had many friends and no single best friend to choose amongst them.

Then there were the usual loyalty issues at home. Being the youngest, I was always asked to align myself with one of my ever sparring siblings. Big brother was very very much older and spent the little time we had together being
alternately kind and cruel, like one would with a pet mouse. Big S was more forthright and took charge, demanding pledges of absolute loyalty.

There was this instance when the maha block-bluster was released in the mid-1970s (Sholay). Being that we were non-filmi types, our family was the only one in the entire neighbourhood, which hadn't seen it! The songs- they were everywhere. Inspired by one such, Big S asked to hold my hand and sing with her about how our friendship would be eternal and that it would live on even after our breath leaves our bodies and so on. To her everlasting chagrin and, I must admit, to my credit, I never held her hand or made any such promise to her. Some such song may have been sung by dh too (oh, I suffer so from amnesia), but I have never been pinned down by a word to any one.

There were others who tried to play the emotional blackmail game, if you like/love/care for me, then you have to ----- and just this way.

I never commit. I never promise anyone anything. And yet can never hold myself back from delivering on all those promises not made. Put myself through all manner of extremes and unpleasant stuff to endure, last out, see things through, stay till the end, do the done thing - but, I don't ever commit. I never say ever or never.

So whom am I fooling?

September 19, 2006

Oh *my* Boy!

All my Love, all my kissing,
you don't know what you've been missing

(break in singing for some loud wet kisses on my head)

We've been OD-ing on
La Bamba at home and for all the hype around Valens, this was what ds was found crooning wistfully. Holly it is for my little boy- oh boy!

C'mon Let's Go, little darling - after all, The sky belongs to the Stars!

September 17, 2006

Now On

Scott talks of the Stunt work he has been performing day after day for over fifteen years and hopes to for another 30 years or so! He is, despite all disclaimers to the contrary, a safety net, and knows the value of staying on, being there. And yes, how he has to keep performing the same stunt without safety devices or doubles.

Wonder when one the show stops and these stunts or being the net cease. There never seems a fine time.

Being On, got to keep doing the tight-rope walk, the balancing act, the flying trapeze, the ultimate endurance stunt- Reality!

September 09, 2006

Bangalore Bouquet

When I was uprooted and transplanted from Delhi to Bangalore, I was excited about the move. I did the usual (maybe not so typical for me) housewifely things such as decide the house we'd be living in, picking out the furnishings and so on.

Dh had been making a few trips to Bangalore and had shortlisted a few probables among the houses for me to check out. When I saw this house, I knew it was 'my house'! Just as I had chosen all the houses I've lived in in the past.

I was told that the previous occupant of the house was a single American gent, who like other single American gents, had more time and interest in techie innovations than gardens and lawns. Thats so NOT true, given that I know at least one single, very American gent who not only bothers about what he grows and how!The most attractive feature about the house was not the delightfully quiet street or the near continuous canopy of trees above or even the absence of open trash receptacles around it. It was the palms! Glorious luxuriant palms which obviously had taken years to grow and had been just left to do so.

The palms got me. But the palms also showed up the lack of any other form of healthy vegetation in the patch of dirt around the house. We set about righting this wrong earnestly. Overnight we got hundreds of potted and other plants in and arranged them in the freshly laid organically rich beds.

And grass! It has been laid so many times that I fear that by now it must have acquired a reputation for promiscuity!

Most of the initial tranche were foliage plants except for the odd (can you fathom I don't fancy them?) anthuriums, sadabahars (they are so ubiquitous they are called Graveyard flowers), poinsettia (now what exactly is the flower there?), and of course the already present sampige.

Then I picked up many roses from Lalbagh apart from doing what came easiest to me-
rushing to Delhi and getting Chrysanthamums, Calendulas, Gerberas, Dahlias et al from my favourite haunt there at Rajdhani Nursery in Jorbagh. Some of them plants took root, put out luxuriant foliage but stopped at that. No huge prize winning flowers.

Gradually I learnt to come to terms with the fact that I was NOT in Delhi. And that I should learn to love the flowers of this garden city. There was this balled compound flower, in various shades of orange and red, which no self-respecting Bangalore garden could be without (I still haven't found out the name of that one!)

But always there were hibiscus! What a variety of them...

September 01, 2006

Treat me well

I love doctors, I hate doctors. Like most of the junta around me, doctors too are rather terrified of me- and some with good cause to be so.

My intense love-hate relationship with doctors (as with many others in my life!) began only after I became a mother. Till then, I was quite in awe of doctors and let sleeping docs lie. I never provoked them, threw sticks at them or asked them to fetch for me. But of course, this meant that I did not bestow on them too much of mind space. It was a strict policy of non-interference. But since then I have crossed the (s)Hades to acquire the status of a Mom From Hell!

This week, my son got up in the middle of the night and was tossing and turning. The angel that he is, he never cries. But it is enough indication for me to know that there must something REALLY troubling him, for him to be up. 'What is it, Angel', I ask. 'My ear hurts.' Sure enough, I give him a mandated dose of paracetamol and try to soothe him back to sleep. Half an hour later, things seem to have only gone worse. I hate it but I know there is a bottle of this at the back of the medical cabinet which is brought out only at such emergencies. After the tiniest dose which may work, I try to soothe him back to sleep yet again. It is nearly morning before he finally falls in to a restful sleep pattern.

Later, the pilgrimage to the neighbourhood doctor. The usual long waiting; the exposure to all manner of stray infections concentrated there; the sight and sounds of all the others who are suffering and suffering badly, it seems; makes me feel it may have been better to stay at home than being in the clinic. The diagnosis indicates (oral, NOT written) that there could be an abscess in the ear which is painful and may have to be removed.

The hastily scrawled prescription lists among other medications, the same analgesic-anti-inflammatory as well as some ear-drops. Given ds's susceptibility to ear-trouble and prior acquaintance with that particular brand of ear-drops, I interject- Doesn't it contain Gentamycitin? Yes, it is a very good drug, I am informed. Highly effective in ear infections. But isn't Gentamicin highly ototoxic? I happen to know a number of children who are deaf because of that drug. That's all right; it IS a very effective drug !

With thoughts of Foucault's Birth of the Clinic (a refreshingly simplistic take on one who is a most difficult writer) and the prescient Ivan Illich's Medical Nemesis (and another doctor's take )


I love doctors, I love medicine, but most all, I love the kid.

August 30, 2006


All my friends know how much I love my friends- old and new.

There is always a frenzied excitement about meeting new friends, learning all about them, being with them! The initial high, the heady honeymoon phase, then the settling in to a routine which is comfortable without being jarringly distracting.

Through this madness, invariably there is the sane tone that old friends provide, the safe comfort of their anchor and support ensures one doesn't get blinded by the brilliance of new-found friends.

That said, there are no friends like old friends!

So imagine how ungrounded I was this morning when my very first pair of diamond earrings went literally down the drain!


after an hour of reconciling myself to the fact that life often offers such shocks, I received a call from my major domo telling me that my friends had not deserted me after all!

I shan't offend delicate sensibilities all around by detailing how the drained off diamonds were recovered. But hey, all you friends out there,
you all mean the world to me and I am holding on to all of you- tight!

Am I grounded?

August 26, 2006


Ever since dd was put into play school, I had to shrug off my 'I don't cook' attitude and get my nose to the grind. Packing lunches every day five days a week, for so many years.

There were days when she would like the lunch! But those were few and far between. Some of the tiffins I packed for her would even be a hit with her friends and she wouldn't 'mind' taking them as long as her friends ate from her tiffin and she was allowed access to theirs!

Many a time we would agree on some sort of a routine - for each day of the week, a particular item- but this too never worked out.

Then ds started school too. And his tiffins had to be so different from hers. While she constantly craves variety rice one day, pasta the next, dosa, idli, baby idlis, roti, puri, parantha, breads, cheese, what have you, he was always steadfast in what was 'acceptable' tiffin to him.

There was a phase when they went to differnt schools and used to get different tiffins from mom. Dd had to make the compromise- she had to adjust to whatever was being made for the common tiffin. The ubiquitous potato reigns supreme.

Which is why this less than perfect mom fantasises about the perfect, nutritionally balanced, visually appealing tiffins that Meeta packs daily. I lurk there regularly but when come school mornings, it is back to the usual boring stuff.

A major disincentive to experimentation and trying new stuff is the attitude of ds. He sniffs at anything new in the most suspicious manner till I say, 'Angel, Amma has made it specially for you with love' to which he responds, 'Amma, why do you put SO much of "love"? A little "love" is enough!' And I would end up reverting to the standard fare earning the ire of dd!

Can't please them all - but am I trying enough? Priya, got me thinking...