Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Indian Dream

Common Name: Indian
Proper Name: Non Residentus Indianus
Category: Immigrant, IT professional
Growth Rate: Physically sideways, financially upwards and mentally stagnant
Origin: The great Indian subcontinent
Main characteristic: Confused

Other Characteristics : This category of human species is rapidly growing all around the world, especially in conducive environments i.e. English speaking countries which happen to have fledgling immigrant (read Indian,preferably speaking the same language) communities. They tend to take root very easily and are always on the lookout for similar species. They try to make the space around them resemble their place of origin so as to minimize their interaction with the native species.

Most feared characteristic: They often tend to lapse into nostalgia and speak fondly of their place of birth or where they grew up. The signs of this condition beginning to set in during a conversation are glazed eyes, staring at nothing in particular, mouth setting into a slight smile and a slow,deep sigh. As soon as one or more of these signs are spotted collect your belongings and run for the nearest exit !!

If not: If you are one of the first timers, then you will have to sit/stand through at least 30 minutes of paeans being sung about their place of birth,school(s) they went to, their first friend and teacher in kindergarten,days spent running around in the hot sun drinking tender coconut water,eating aloo tikki and samosas, first,second and third cousins, aunts,uncles and in-laws being remembered with love although back home they fight over why they were not invited personally to their kids' birthdays, parents reaching 60/80 years, and why they weren't greeted for their anniversaries. You would also learn that this year would be their last year in that country.

Impact: If you are someone who has never visited India(or the subcontinent) then this nostalgic trip down the memory lane will prompt you to take the next flight and land on this magical,utopian land where everyone loves everyone.

How to resist: Talk to the same person the next day about any recent scam/terrorist attack/state of the traffic/population etc and see the Indian dream come crashing down and how suddenly nothing good can come to "that country" and "those people".

Thursday, January 31, 2013

George Orwell and Indian temples

A completely chanceful stumble on this delightfully engaging essay by George Orwell “The Moon Under Watermade my keyboard keys clutter after a very long interval on an entirely unrelated topic.

I would suggest to anyone who is reading this to read the said Orwell’s essay first (no, not to pick on this) to understand the trigger for this blog.

I love going to temples. I’m not one of the temple fanatics (if there is such an expression) who are obsessive about visiting every single temple in their vicinity. By a temple I mean everything from a grand,old,1000 year old one to the “ Theru mukku Pillaiyar Kovils”,  to the neem trees streaked with so much sandalwood paste that you wouldn’t be wrong in mistaking them for sandalwood trees. More the merrier they’d say!!

What irks me is when the same “more the merrier” idea is applied to the number of deities in a temple. I steer clear of temples with so many obscurely named deities whose names barely register in my mind. I stare in disbelief when somebody comes up to me barely able to contain his/her excitement  and rattles off the names of 10 different deities and say that there is a new temple around the corner with all of them and so one can get all the blessings at the same time.I think this trend started around the time when the idea of going to a temple changed from feeling peaceful to literally counting your blessings.  
Here is what most temples feel like. Some of them make me feel like I’m standing in a bathroom because the management decided that the weary old stone floor has to be replaced with shiny and gaudy bathroom tiles. Some others make me feel like I’m entering a zoo or a museum with their caged waiting rooms and queues enclosed within iron bars. Passing through the deities with their special powers advertised makes me feel like I’m in a detergent aisle of a supermarket. Finally a temple with 10 different gods with 100 levels of power makes me think I’m watching a Bollywood multi starrer.

If anyone knows of one temple that is old, with beautiful sculptures, with only the main god and goddess, a kind and pleasant priest who remains so no matter how much lands on his plate, which has a corner where I can sit ,close my eyes and lose myself to the mystery of the universe without the fear of being jostled , feels cool and smells divine no matter how hot it is and how foul it smells outside and makes me feel that not everything is wrong with the world after all, I should be glad to hear of it, even if it is situated in some far flung, remote corner of the country. The scene may differ, but the yearning is the same.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heart Breakers

I didn't believe people cried. I didnt believe that they were heartbroken when they left their babies in the care of strangers. I have heard stories but still all I could see was my tears, my pain and my heart being broken every time he cried, every time I left him screaming in some one else's arms and I was asked to just leave and close the door.

I saw it today. I saw the tears of a heartborken mother going back to her car just as I was leaving.She was fighting her tears, trying hard to swallow them. I stopped for a moment and looked at her. I wanted to hug her and say that it'll be allright,that things will get better. But I couldn't. How could I, when things are still not better for me. He still cries every morning when we drop him. Just when he seems to settle down, he catches some bug or the other, last week it was the vomiting bug then it is conjunctivits. Cough and cold are permanent residents of his body. So I just stood there hoping she'll be allright.

Oh, if only there was a balm for broken hearts !!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The List of the Unfathomable

Okay, here is the thing. I know he is a baby, and he is only 11 months old and he still doesnt understand adult world, still I cannot understand for the life of me why kids do (its not just my kid right?? oh please please say its just not him !!) the things they do . I guess I should cut him some slack for the very reason that I'm as confounded about baby world as he is about adult world. Anyway, a sample few from the exhaustive list of things he does to that drive me mad.

1. He is having his milk. He is all drowsy to the point of letting the milk leak from his mouth. Just when I begin to plan the million and one things that have been pending for as long as I can remember, he jumps up, throws the bottle aside and starts pushing the bar stool like a walker (you heard me right, a real heavy, bar stool).
2. I hold off on peeing for as long as I can,because I dread what comes after that, and when I can hold it no longer, I hand him over to his dad and enter the bathroom. He starts screaming and is having a meltdown, beacause apparently moms enter the toilet and escape through the hole into a land free from diapers and screaming babies never to return , right ?? So I keep talking to him from inside the toilet while peeing, and I dont think I can have a panic free pee, ever, even when he is not around !!
3.I feed him,change his nappy and hand him his favourite toy. Still, the moment he sees me sitting down with a meal, he dashes across the room ,pulls my legs, climbs up and starts playing with my plate. If there was one thing I hate to be pushed on, that was eating and now I eat standing, half sitting - half walking , half running . Speaking of which, I'm desperately trying to remember what I had for my last meal !!
4. Time it takes to microwave a coffee/tea= 1 minute
Possibility of the baby deciding to touch an electric socket, escape through the kitchen door and climb the stairs, shake the 40 inch TV, stumble,fall and cry or just plain "life me up this minute" cry at the very same minute - 100 %!!
No of times a coffee/tea can be microwaved before it loses any semblance of flavour or taste = umm, can't remember .
Chances of gulping down the said cold and lifeless coffee/tea after "accidentally" finding it , instead of throwing it down the drain - 200%

PS: Not the end ...

Thursday, March 22, 2012


My dear little sunshine,

I see you and lose my sense of self.
I see you go through life like there is no tomorrow and I hope tomorrow will be a better place to be.
I hear you laugh and feel what real mirth is.
I feel your hug and know what it is to love someone truly unconditionally.
I see you delight at little things and realize that it doesn't take much to be happy.
I see you explore and realize what keeps us truly alive.
I see you stumble,fall,cry but never let your little self tire and wonder at the force of life.

As you go out into the big bad world, I fear for you.
Not because you will fail, but because you'll be made to fear failure.
Not because you will laugh out loud, but because it will sneer at your laughter.
Not because you will cry, but because you'll be called weak and made to hold your tears.

Whenever that happens just tell them this.

Life is not easy,it was never meant to be. The tears make you laugh louder , the fall makes you jump higher.

As you turn one,here is wishing that every time you fall , you rise higher and stronger than before.

mamm mamm mamma (that's how you call me now)

PS: If ever you find this, please remind me to read it, atleast once, everyday !!
PPS: He turns 1 next month.(I might as well write one for his 18th birthday!! )

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The first kiss of love

He kissed me.
It was not a lick, or a peck, nor a painful bite,
It was a kiss.
The sweetest and purest form of love.
Not once but twice,
As if to say ,
That it was indeed what it was.
To say any more ,
Would mean to distort its purity.
In Byron's words

"When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love."

Monday, May 23, 2011

The little devil

He bites, spits and screams his head off,
He kicks, scratches and refuses to lie down,
He wriggles,pees and makes me feel helpless,
Just when I throw up my hands in exhaustion,
He snuggles and flashes one of his fleeting sleep grins,
And I lay there besotted for life,
The little devil sure knows his tricks !!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The wait...

I wait for the day you'll enter this world, kicking and screaming
I see a rainbow and imagine how you'll stare at it wide eyed the first time you see one
There is a snow fall and the ground is carpeted in white
The sun comes out and for a moment it looks like there are diamonds on the ground
How I wish you could see that.
I wonder if these things would even make sense to you
Will you snuggle with me on a rainy night and spin out imaginary tales
Or just dismiss me as an incurable romantic...
ah..the wait ..