Thursday, July 23, 2009

Of Birthday, Books and the time went by:

Last week was such a glorious one for the mighty me had her birthday on the 14th and since it was a weekday, the better half went all that way to ensure that festivities weren’t any less.

He started bestowing me with gifts much in advance. Shopping for Books and Footwear followed. Sunday breakfast at Koshy’s. Another round of shopping at Fab India. Mid night cake cutting in a candle lit balcony. Another round of cake cutting in office, followed by a sumptuous lunch treat in La Casa. Evening was spent partying at home. A small group of good friends, music, food, bubbly - you know the essentials. Aman took an off while I had to slog it out at work. His premise – “it’s my wife’s birthday and I want to have fun”. Although most part of his day too was spent in preparations for evening.
And life did look quite rosy. The week was made even more beautiful with some added shopping escapades with some fabulous dinners. Thanks Aman for making it so lovely.

I have been procrastinating about writing for way to long now. And thanks to this new addiction called twitter, blog has taken a back seat. So for all those who have been missing me, follow me here on twitter.

Coming to Books:
Among finishing other books I also managed to read Bringing up Vasu, by Parul Sharma. I usually don’t do reviews but this one time I do want to write a bit about this one solely because Parul is the first person I know who has a book to her name :). I have been reading her blog for a few months now and I feel I owe this to her.

Bringing up Vasu is a very good first time effort. The blurb of the book does full justice in telling the reader what to expect.
Let’s first talk about what I didn’t like and then move to what I loved about the book. It’s nice to end at positive note you see.
Firstly for a non mum like me there is just too much poop in the first half of the book. While I am sure that, the poop is the reality of life and sooner or later even I will have to face it, somehow reading about it didn’t excite me all that much.
Secondly, at some and I insist only at some instances the humor was a tad bit forced.

Leaving these 2 things aside the book is a very nice light read, for mums as well as non mums who might some day decide to become one. The book is funny and energetic. It has its share of moments that tug at your heart, like when the protagonist decides to take up a assignment and leave her new born in the hands of maid. Her dilemma, her confusion and her paranoia, I am quite sure all working mothers go through it. The book is about her aspirations to be this cool super mom which again, I think, a lot of women would want to be. The book is about how she wants the best and only the best for her son.
This book is also a must read for men who have these splendid notions that children are all hunky dorky and fun to be with. I do plan to force Aman to read it as well.

There are these letters that the mum has written to her son on completion of each quarter and they are an absolute delight to read. Parul ends the book in a manner which tells me that a sequel is in the offering. This genre of Indian writing is new, as I haven’t come across a book on similar lines.
Parul – kudos to you for pulling this off. I am sure we can wait for more.

Monday, July 6, 2009

2 Sisters and no Brother, God be with your parents.

Among the innumerable happy and carefree memories I have of my childhood there is also one gloomy memory that is quite engraved into my mind.

Having been brought up in a small town like Ranchi has had its own share of discomforts. Most of it, I never experienced. Thanks to the warm and loving family I have, Neha and me have had a very protected, lighthearted, affectionate and independent upbringing.

Coming to the point of this post, the most common childhood question I have been asked by every adult I met for the first time is “How many brothers and sisters you have”, my reply would be “I have a younger sister”. My response had always been followed by a quick “what? No brother, oh no, poor parents, 2 girls to marry off”
The adult could be anyone – friend’s parents, new neighbors, some vague acquaintances and sometime some god forsaken relatives. But the line of questioning was always similar.
Not only me, even my younger sister Neha has faced a lot of these. This one question followed by a quick dismissal and then the pity has made me go through a gamut of emotions. From the initial confusion to irritation to anger to rage to the ultimate indifference. If anything this probing left me a little more determined to make a mark.

This was outside. At home it was a very different scene. Our little family was picture perfect. Neither mom nor dad ever seem perturbed that they had only 2 daughters and no sons. This fact never bothered them. In fact in more occasions than one I had seen them shut people up when they started the usual course of “Oh Mr/Mrs Bhatia, but why didn’t you try for a third child, didn’t you feel a need for a son?”

So when we weren’t bothered why were others? When my mom was happy with 2 girls, when my dad was proud of his 2 daughters, when neither Neha nor I felt the need of having a brother, why was the society so concerned?

Today, both of us are doing well. I am well educated, have a good career and am poised to do even better. I am financially independent and happy in life. Neha is all set to follow suit, having just completed her MBA. How is it any different from a family which had 2 sons? Now the same old folks come and congratulate my parents on the having the proverbial “well brought up children”.

Why I say this today is because I saw the familiar story unfold in front of my eyes. I thought the world had changed. But be in the 1989 or the 2009, be it Ranchi or Bangalore, something’s remain unchanged. In the play ground of my apartment, I saw a 5 year old subjected to the same line of questioning. The little one, who had an infant sister, was visibly unsure of what she had said that had made the aunty so abject, simply shrugged and went off. I smiled, because I saw yet another independent and confident lady in the making.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Of Swine Flu

How could I forget writing about this, damn me. It’s totally outdated now but like heck I need to write it. So please bear with me.

Some of you know that I went to Sydney this May. I was there for about a week. My return flight was via Bangkok and instead of coming straight to Bangalore I had to change my flight at Mumbai.

Now there have been confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Australia. Considering I was coming back from there I was sure there will be some major delay at Mumbai Airport in order to do a check up. Add to it the fact that I had a stop over at Bangkok too, which also had had a few cases.

Reality how ever was quite different. At Mumbai International airport I was given a form which had a few random questions like - have I been to a infected country, did I come across someone who has swine flu, do I have fever and cold etc. barring the 1st one I answered no to all.
After submitting the form the guard on duty scanned me up and down and then declared me healthy. Just like that. I was authorized safe to roam about the city. That took my goat. What if I really had the virus? Wasn’t a through check needed, what if I hadn’t said the truth? Was my saying so enough to let me go?

This was back in May; I hear that situation is better now. Not sure as my experience was quite vague. Anyone else who has had some similar experiences?