Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are you still coming here to read me?

Is it, is it?? ah, well, I have moved to Wordpress, click here to visit my new home
Update your blogrolls, book mark my new page, subscribe on reader or email, do whatever you wish, but please don't abandon me! 
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

We have moved to word press -

Yes we have, because we were really fed up of blogger. Please continue to visit us -

We are still trying to understand how WP works. Kind people have offered help. Writing will continue there. 

Come over to and say a Hi to me!!!

Thanks my lovelies!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Do it yourself – Post 9

Now now, before your dirty mind wanders far, please to remember that this is a family blog and I refrain for making comments that will have some people jumping.

What I am talking here is the latest shoe rack we picked from Ikea. All of 89 dollars, this pretty thing came in a compact packing. The idea was to assemble it yourself. And the last time I did something vaguely constructive was back in school were we had a compulsory 1 hour of SUPW (Socially Useful Productive work) every week.  On that note, do children these days have SUPW??

Anyways, so we bought this thing home with the intention of creating something out of some random pieces. I for one was totally excited and kicked by the idea and my constant blabbering was infectious enough for Aman too. Or at least he pretended. It’s another story that this assembly had to wait till the following weekend.  

At the onset it seemed a little difficult, but once on it, we had so much fun doing it. It was the perfect team building exercise for a couple. We strategized, recognized quickly what both of us were good at and accordingly worked (trust me to make a perfect domestic activity sound like something you do in a boardroom!!)

And in the process had we some good laughs as well. This was an enjoyable change for someone who is used to having hired help and delivery guys do such things. I mean I don’t think we have ever taken the pain to hammer a random nail into the wall, leave alone assembling a chest of drawers.

So here is my suggestion for some perfect couple time which is fun, novel and great for bonding. Go go, pick up a DIY shoe rack from Ikea.

This is the result of our effort, ah the sweet joys of love!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What do you do when woman don’t value themselves – Post 8

I was talking to a friend the other day and then I read this post by Roop. Let’s first talk about the friend.

I think I know her since we were in class 4 or 5. She is/was smart, intelligent and someone with a sense of purpose in life. I would also call her decently ambitious. Let’s just say she was like any other regular girl with a regular life and regular aspirations. And then she fell in love with this guy; a couple of years older to her, from an affluent business family and belonging to a different religion. She was all of 18-19 then.  With much resolve and after a lot of protest they got married. All this happened a decade back. She quit her studies and got settled in the life of a home maker. I don’t think she gave all this too much thought then for she was finally getting married to someone she loved and was more than thankful that the parents and in-laws who had first protested had then finally agreed.

Why I told you this story was to set some context. This girl went on to produce 3 children in that last 10 years. First 2 were daughters and therefore she had a third one too, which, much to her liking and to the joy of her mother in law and husband was a boy.
Cut to present – her husband is hardly ever home, is into alcohol to the extent of being called an alcoholic and doesn’t do much work (read: is living off the family money). Her MIL is sort of a tyrant, running and ruling the household. My friend has no social life. And is at times subjected to “a bit of physical abuse” (these are her own words). She hardly ever gets to meet her parents in spite of the fact that they stay in the same city.

Obviously all this hurts me, for I still remember the girl she was when we were still in school. But what pains me more is her total resignation to her situation. She justifies her MIL’s behavior by saying that the lady has accepted a girl from a different religion into the family and that she will always be thankful for that, come what may. When I asked her about the domestic violence bit, she justified that too saying that she calls such behavior upon herself by arguing and fighting with her husband. And lastly, she justified the need to have a son too – she feels she owed it to the family to give them an heir. If her 3rd born was a daughter she would have gone for a 4th one as well.

Here is a girl, perfectly normal, who is enduring all the pains and troubles, because she believes that she deserves it. She suffers at the hands of this belief that is deeply engraved in her mind. A good DIL is one who never answers back, asks permission, thinks more about her in-law than her own parents, has no opinion etc. The parents feel proud to have brought up a daughter who listens to everything her husband and in-laws say. They are happy that she, with her “obedient and polite” behavior, has washed off the stigma of marrying outside the cast and has been totally accepted by her in-laws family.

So who is at fault here? For me it is my friend as much as her family. It is a case of a woman who has subjected herself to such behavior by choice. She suffers but in silence. She thinks it’s wrong to complain. She is making the marriage work. She has been at it for 10 years and will continue doing it till she breathes her last. I have no words. I feel bad for her but I also know that this is the choice she has made. Maybe someday she will realize her worth and maybe someday she will stand for herself. Maybe…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diamonds, anyone?? Post 7

I don’t fail to surprise myself every now and then. Is it that I evolve or is it that I change? Or worse still, is it that I get influenced? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it does make me eat my words.

I have never been a jewelry person.  Growing up years in a strict convent school meant small studs or an earring, that’s about it. In college it was mostly a thin gold chain and a much understated finger ring, that too because my grandmother insisted on buying it for me and then I wore it out of love.
What I liked and enjoyed was silver jewelry which my mom firmly believed was an absolute waste.

Even when marriage was fixed I was least bothered about what mom was doing in regards to my wedding jewelry. I did tell not to waste much money on it but I think that suggestion fell on very deaf ears. She wanted me to come home from Bangalore to select my own jewelry but neither had I the time nor the inclination. Ditto for my MIL, for even she wanted me to come home to select my jewelry. But I kindly excused myself.  So basically I had no role to play in buying or selecting the jewelry I am most likely stuck for the rest of my life. So that was my interest level and I did make my opinion quite clear to all and sundry in as verbal a manner as it fits a bride!!

But then something happened like about 2 years back and suddenly I was enlightened and mesmerized by the world of jewelry and precious metals. Unexpectedly, from being a boho who loved her silver I was keenly looking at diamonds. That was my initiation into the world of buying and storing jewelry. That was when I dragged my MIL to the bank locker to have a look at what all I had. And least to say, I was floored. I had no idea what pretty stuff both she and my mom had given me for my wedding.

I still don’t wear it on regular basis but yes I have started to plan my annual buys. And I do look for opportunities to pick some piece or the other every now and then. I never thought I would be “into” jewelry, but I guess I was wrong.  Now I can talk about it, I understand its value and enjoy it. Is this too part of growing up? Not sure, but as of now I am surely enjoying it!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

And then the mighty fall – Post 6

What a day this has been. First I overslept and when I woke up, I did with so much difficulty. Monday was here and work was screaming at me. Given a choice I would have slept all day, that’s how tired I felt. But such choices aren’t there. So I dragged myself out of the bed to get ready for work. And to make things seem a bit better I dressed with care and wore one of my favorite top and skirt and paired them with the latest stilettos I had picked up last week.

And then it happened while returning to office post lunch. I missed a step and before I could realize I was on all fours sprawled on the pavement. The wallet had flown to one corner and blackberry was whimpering at another. Thankfully Aman was with me but even he couldn’t save my mighty fall. My stockings tore, my knee was bleeding and so was my elbow. My shoe broke and my skirt has a bad mark. It was embarrassing beyond words. I have told you about my penchant for falling before. And we did it again.  A dozen odd people gathered around and I couldn’t even cry properly.

Gosh, terrible. Post some quick first aid, Aman dumped me in a taxi and sent me home. I think I will be rendered immobile for a couple of days. Sigh. Well at least one good thing happened with this fall – I got some dope to write a random post!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simpy, our maid’s daughter – Post 5

Back home in Kapurthala (where Aman’s parents live) we have a part time maid. Her story is no different from any of the hundreds of other maids. She is from Bihar and when poverty got the better of them, she along with her husband came to Punjab. While she works in multiple houses through the day, he squanders his time by gambling and drinking and then beating wife and children.

Among other children she has a daughter Simpy. When Aman and I got married, Simpy was a little girl of around 10 years. I remember her distinctly because of her energy and her smile. She didn’t know how old she was, just estimation. Simpy use to come home with her mom. She was pretty excited by the idea of a new bride coming into the house.

I have seen her grow a little older at each of my annual visit to Kapurthala. Last year, when I went to kapurthala my MIL told me that Simpy's marriage had been fixed. I was a little shocked considering she wouldn’t be more than 14 years. We tried talking to Simpy’s mother but to no avail. She was very happy because the groom was from their community, had a fruit stall and was well settled. She was convinced that he was a good match for her daughter.  She did ensure us that this marriage was just to ensure that the children don’t wander and get lured. The idea was that even after marriage Simpy would still stay with her parents. She would only move to her in-laws house after 3-4 years when she was older and matured. (Reference here is to the practice of Gauna where the marriage is consummated after several years of the actual ceremony)

Well, when I went to Kapurthala this February I was beyond my wits when I saw Simpy. She hadn’t been coming home with her mother and with all the wedding preparations even I had completely forgotten about her. Finally when I saw her I was stunned. She was pregnant, in less than a year of her marriage. At 15 odd years, she was an expectant mother. Just looking at her broke my heart in thousand pieces. This girl-woman suddenly looked all coy and embarrassed. She will have her baby anytime now.

We spoke a lot about CSA all of last month. What do we call something like this? When will this stop? Is anyone doing anything about it? 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Nothing like some retail therapy – Post 4

Ain’t it? And yesterday was super. After all summer is here and a girl needs to shop with the change in weather! Yeah, so what it the weather hardly changes in Singapore and so what it is as hot and humid as ever.

The wardrobe needs a bit of revamping every now and then, and this time it was Zara that made me very happy. Their latest summer line is something that needs a dekho. If you happen to be in Singapore do peep in.

And among other things, I did find the black handbag which I had been looking for a while now. Picked one from Guess and I say its a steal.
There you go, a rather badly clicked picture, thanks to BB! But you do get the idea :)

For me shopping does work as a stress buster, and it doesn’t matter for whom I am buying stuff. Just the act of buying makes me feel better. Yeah I am crazy like that. What about you? Do you love to shop?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tales from the wedding – 3 | Post 3

Let’s talk about food, coz we love it, so much so that on most days we wake up to have breakfast. And while having breakfast we discuss the plans for Lunch and Dinner and the numerous in between eats. Are you all like this too? Or are we a mad household.

So for people who are obsessive about food on a regular basis, Punjab can be the most lethal place to be. That too in the hands of dotting parents and in-laws who always think that you have lost more weight from the last time they saw you. Parents come with special eyesight I guess, one which enables them to shed off the “oh-so-prominent” kilos from their children.

This last trip was no different. Add to it the magic of the wedding and you can guess what I am talking about. Each meal was an elaborate affair with starters and dessert thrown in. There is no doubt that Punjbi food is delicious and I think I have finally cracked the code as well. It’s that divine ingredient called BUTTER or its close cousin GHEE, which are added to each and every dish in no small quantity. The more liberal you are with the usage, the better the outcome will be. Sigh!!

Our family cook/halwai – Mr Desa, a tiny, thin man with a nerve of steel was commissioned with the job of preparing each and every meal mostly breakfast and lunches since dinners were at the venues where functions were happening. Me and MIL sat down and prepared this elaborate menu for each day of the festivity. This was duly passed on to Mr Desa so he could arrange for the ingredients.

I was fascinated, least to say, to see him at work. What multitasking, what organizing capabilities and what meticulous working manner. He could put any of those highly paid MBA’s to shame. With 2 helpers, he rocked the show and prepared food for anywhere between 50 to 100 people, meal after meal, bang on time, served with panache and tasting absolutely delightful.

Both Aman and I came back with additions of more than a few shameless kilos. Cruel cruel life this is, I tell you. So while I do realize the mounting weight and while I do procrastinate about  doing something about it, the food and my love for it grows and grows!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life in Singapore – Let’s talk about cabs and cab drivers | Post 2

With this blogging marathon, when I write a post every day, I would also try and cover certain aspects of my life here in Singapore. Nothing too scholarly, just a bit of what I observe and infer.

This island of Singapore amazes me in more ways than I can list. With a total land area of just about 700 km² it is one of the smallest Asian countries. It’s just a tiny dot on the map. But it still has about 26000 taxis on road at any point of time. And best way to know a city is to talk to its taxi drivers. The insights they will give you about a place will be far deeper than anyone else. 

This morning I had another very interesting conversation with the taxi driver while coming to office. He told me that the taxi drivers were the most “non-preferred” category of prospective grooms in Singapore. It was very difficult to find wives for cab drivers. Reason being that taxi drivers were considered rude and arrogant from Singapore standards. Now that sounds totally incredulous to an Indian and more importantly to someone who has lived in Bangalore for 5 years. Because, we know a rude taxi driver when we see one. These Singaporeans cab drivers are by far calmer and better mannered than their counterparts in most countries.

But yes, compared to other Singaporeans they might be considered arrogant. You know, Singapore is a much pampered society. They follow their rules and they listen to their government. And in return they live a life which is envied by many others. The quality of life here I guess is among the top five globally, the crime rate second only to New Zealand. This kind of comfort living has made the citizens very matter of fact. To quote the cab driver “We Singaporeans behave like Robots”

And maybe this is why the cab guys are considered rude. You tell them to go straight and they will, but if you change your mind mid way and ask them to pull over, they will grumble. Everything is relative. And these folks who might appear delightful to us Indians are not the most sought after category locally. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It’s time for the madness to begin – Post 1

And we take the plunge. Yet again, not having learnt from our past mistakes. These lovely women have successfully lured me into this. You might wonder what? Well, we are talking about  NaBloPoMo, where we write a blog post each day for the rest of the month.

We did this last year in June and the same group is back again. And how could I miss the party?

The CSAAM month has just got over. Can’t begin to say what the month of April meant to me. It was agonizing and therapeutic, both at the same time. It was stressing beyond words, not just physically but mentally too. And since work can never be ignored, it was personal space and time that took the beating. Late nights and some more. But there isn’t an iota of regret. There is only a sense of fulfillment of having done something worthwhile.

One person that needs a special mention is Aman. For without his support and smile, I couldn’t have carried the CSAAM work. He endured me and my moods with a golden heart. I can never say enough how lucky I am and I can never thank him enough to have chosen me as his life partner. Touchwood.

So coming back to NaBloPoMo, let us start the madness again! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tales from the wedding – 2

Click here for "Tale from the wedding - 1"

The timing of the trip back to in-laws place was a near perfect disaster recipe. Let’s just say, being married for almost 5 yrs and having no children to show off, isn’t exactly a very exciting combination, for I knew the kind of looks and sneers I would get.
So the 5th wedding anniversary was precisely 2 days before the BILs wedding date, which meant that all relatives had safely landed and the celebrations had begun. The spouse made me cut a huge huge cake with a big “happy 5th” written on top of it. So memories were refreshed for even those relatives who had forgotten about it.

And thus began the lecture marathon from all and sundry and mostly those who matter little. From telling me how I was messing up with my body, to blaming me for coming in the nature’s desired path and then going on and saying how I was depriving the parent in-laws of a “grand son”. Phew. I did remain calm all through. Coz it was more important to ensure that the wedding happened properly. And frankly I was in no mood of altercation over this non issue. In these 5 years I have moved on from being bothered about this. It’s our life and our baby and we will have it when we want it. Nothing else matters.

This post is not about “others advising me on having children”. I am sure a lot of Indian married women have heard enough and more about this. What is rather intriguing is how consistent each of those uncles and aunties were in blessing me with a “SON”.  Absolutely no two ways about it. Each and every blessing that I received was for a son. I mean bless me with a healthy baby; won’t that be a wiser thing to do?

Finally I did retaliate, more from the intention to irritate this old neighbor. The moment she said “God bless you with a son very soon”, I did ask her “why son why not a daughter?” And I could see her visibly flushed. Pink in cheeks, she said, that a daughter can happen later but first born should be a son.  I glared at her against my better judgment, but she got the message, mumbled something and left. It was actually quite funny to see this effect my words had on this woman. I guess it was a first for her.

Now don’t confuse me with a pseudo feminist.  I am no man hater. But I have no preference when it comes to children. When we decide to go in for a baby, I will only hope and pray for a healthy child .  Nothing wrong in wishing those, right? 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The hair woes continue

My hair woes continue. I anyways have very little left and at the rate with which I am experimenting I will soon have none left. But the itch to do something or the other with my hair keeps coming back every now and then.

So this weekend, almost impulsively, I found myself at the Salon, with the intention to get my hair colored. The stylist totally sweet talked me in first getting a haircut. So I agreed. Not that it’s too much of a new hairstyle, just correcting the length and adding some more layers.

Besides, the hairstylist refused to believe that I was in Indian. She thought I looked like a Mexican, and I seriously don’t know if I should be happy or sad about it. In her opinion “all Indians” are primarily “dark and quite plain looking” and all my efforts to explain that we Indians came in all kind of skin color had no effect on her. So at the end of the 3 hour ordeal, she still thought I was a Mexican and lying about my identity.

Anyways, coming back to the hair thing, so I get a haircut and then we move on to the coloring bit. And yet another brainwave and I decide to get some highlights as well. So base color is a shade of brown with lots and lots of golden highlights thrown in.

I thought it looked chic, till I came to office, where no one actually noticed it!! How do you feel when you spend a fortune on a haircut, a new hair color & highlights and your friends in office don’t even notice it?? Yeah, spare me, but I don’t really feel too good about it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cheese Ravioli, a la Aman style!

So the husband goes to this fine dine, super expensive, super exclusive, high nosed, upscale, (you get the drift, right) Italian Restaurant. And after a meticulous look at the menu and a chat with the head chef, orders Cheese and Spinach Ravioli in Pesto sauce as entrée.

After much wait the dish finally arrives. All decked up, served in the most exquisite fashion. One bite, and he asks the chef to get him some black pepper. Another bite and some tobasco sauce is ordered. Yet another and some red chili flakes. And then some vinegar and then some dry herbs.

Yeah, a small kitchen was established right on the table. The chef died of embarrassment, I have a feeling he quit his profession too, and as for me, I died laughing, and that precisely is the reason we don’t have any pictures!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 | Speak up – That’s the least your child deserves.

Children are like little bundles of innocence and miracle. They are meant to be nurtured and cared for. They deserve every ounce of protection that parents can provide. Birth of a child is considered as one of the most joyous occasions in the life of an individual. Then why do the same individuals fail to protect their cherished child? Why is it that the society and appearances become more important than insuring justice for your child?
Whether we accept it or not, whether we talk about it or not, the fact remains that more than 50% children have been sexual abused. This happens across sections of societies and to both girls and boys.

Confrontation is not easy for most people. It requires grit to break shackles and speak up. But how can people not confront the person who has harmed their own children. Why is it that when it comes to dealing with the abuser of their own child, these parents decide to remain silent.
The social stigma has long been associated with the victim. The burden of shame has long been on the tender shoulder of the abused. The families in most cases ignore the signs and even if they notice they try and hush the matter. The first reaction in most cases is to take no notice of it, and even when noticed, more often than not, the next reaction is of disbelief. 

And then the ever prevalent belief that something like this will not happen to “us and our children”. Of course, no one likes to live in constant fear and paranoia. But isn’t shutting eyes an extremely lame thing to do?

Things need to change and change begins with you. There frankly is no more space left under the carpet now. Too much of hushing and shoving has happened. Time we start accepting and talking about it.

Educating, discussing about CSA and bringing it out of the closet are the initial steps towards prevention. Only if the child knows what is right and what is wrong will he/she alert parents. Instilling confidence and believing the child is the next step. And god forbid if something happens; there should be absolutely no question about punishing the abuser. For your own conscience and for your child. How else will you be able to look into those eyes ever again without feeling guilty?

Thinking back, I realize how protective my parents always were. Without making my sister and me a mistrustful bunch of kids, they always ensured that we were under the right and the watchful eyes. 
They told us what was right and wrong and we knew they would trust us if at all something like this happened. 
Children deserve a happy and a safe childhood. And no matter what we as adults have to provide it. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Of Phuket and more

Phuket was amazing!! 3 days of undefined luxury, relaxation and bliss.
And all that we did was, lie in the pool or lounge beside it and sip on some pretty looking drinks. And then hit the beach and do pretty much the same. Throw in some wonderful Thai massages and some exotic food. Not to forget the carefree driving around the beach town.

What more can a girl ask for? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The villa we stayed in Marriot was to die for. The bath alone was bigger than my current bedroom in Singapore! Sigh. So a super hit holiday, a beautiful tan and the wait begins for the next one. And I have a feeling it will be Bali this time.

In another news, we are moving into a new house next week. The current one was a bit small for our liking. Moving into this house was an ill informed and quick decision but considering it was taken in the first week of moving to Singapore, we didn’t do too badly. The new one is nice, pretty and spacious. A little far from office, but manageable. So we broke our contract midyear, paid a penalty, but never mind, we got a place we like.

Also, most of you must be aware of the work we are doing around creating awareness on Child Sexual Abuse.  Do visit the blog and spread awareness by talkin about it. All the details are in here.  
And to help spread the word, Blogadda published this article -
Also, DNA did a article on CSA –
Online –

Print (page 7)-

Monday, April 4, 2011

When History was being written

We were right there screaming our lungs out. When MSD hit that 6, I almost collapsed in joy. That moment will remain one of the most proud moments in my life for a long long time to come.

There was only one feeling, one wish and one prayer – Win this cup Team India, you all owe it to Sachin. It was for Sachin that I prayed and prayed for India to win. It’s not for nothing that we call him god.

Many many years down the line, I will tell my grandkids, I saw god, and I saw history being created.

Sitting thousands of miles away from home didn’t dampen our spirits neither did it make the victory taste any less sweet. Aman and I decided to watch the match in a pub and that by far was one of the better decisions we made. We reached this pub on Robertson Quay bang on time. The atmosphere was electrifying. Some 500 plus enthusiastic cricket fanatics were there, all geared up to take team to victory.  Flags, painted faces, slogan chanting, we did all that and more. To give us company were about 20 Sri Lankan supports as well. And that added to the euphoria of winning.

We cheered each run saved, each wicket that fell and each maiden over that was bowled. And then we cheered each shot, each boundary! We had our heart breaking moments when Sehwag and Sachin got out. And we danced when MSD bashed the Lankan bowlers.
What a match and what a victory, a moment that brought the entire country together. The strangers at that pub were no longer strangers when the match got over. With the dancing, screaming, hugging, hi-fi’s all around I forgot I was in Singapore!!

And yes I cried when the final 6 was hit, I cried when Sachin was carried on the shoulder, I cried when they lifted the cup.  Loved the words by Virat Kohli - “Sachin has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It's only fair we carry him now” Summed up the whole thing beautifully.

It indeed was one of the most cherishable moments. And will remain etched forever! Mighty proud of the Team. And this one was for Sachin. And this one was for Dad, Mom and Neha who wanted India to win more than anything else. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month [CSAAM] - April 2011

All through April some blogger friends are hosting the CSA Awareness Month:

If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that  entries are more than welcome -

a. mailed to OR
b. posted as FB notes and linked to the FB page OR
c. posted on your own blog with the badge and "CSAAM April 2011" in the heading and linked to the main blog OR
d. linked or posted on Twitter tagged OR
e. sent via some/all of the above methods

Some topics are suggested here. Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured. I will probably be hosting at least one guest post and encourage you to do the same for non-blogger friends.

Please remember to send in a mail with links to your blog post/FB Notes (or just your input) to so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stop before you grow fat

Because losing weight is not an easy task!!!
So I have been on this Low Carbohydrate diet for over two weeks now. The diet has enough merits and claims to do wonders. So far the weighing scale hasn’t moved in the direction which would have given me any pleasure. But to be fair, I do feel good. Major detoxification has happened. After all being off carbs, dairy and sweets doesn’t leave one with too much choice.

Honestly, I think this is a very good diet to follow, but what works against me is my work timing. This kind of dieting needs a bit of planning, where in one can prepare and cook suitable stuff. Or where one has some help at hand. Since having moved to Singapore I have been bereft of a cook and my work hours are fairly long. This means in most cases I either starve or eat things not allowed. But I am trying to cope and thanks to Monika and 2 more wonderful ladies I am able to do some bit of it. You girls rock and if not for you all I would have given up on day 2.

The diet is surely giving me misplaced illusions and crazy dreams where in I dreamt of gorging Jalebis and eating noodles and drinking coffee. The other day I caught myself sucking at that lone piece of dark chocolate and refusing to swallow it. Next will be when I start staring at people and their food in restaurants and food courts and then surely I will be labeled as a lunatic and thrown out of the country. Ah, well!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Of Daughters and Sons

There was much celebration in the house. The mother had been blessed with a baby boy. The baby was doing well and so was the mother. All relatives were rejoicing. Someone said – It’s good that the first born is a boy, now no one needs to worry about what the next will be. And others vehemently agreed.

And a couple of years later, a girl was born too. It was the proverbial “complete family”. All efforts were put in to provide the best in class education to the boy. The best school in town, the best college in the country and then a foreign MBA. The girl got a raw deal in comparison. Being a girl she wasn’t allowed to leave her small town to big bad world of Delhi or Mumbai for higher studies. She managed. Completed her graduation and started working in a bank, and slowly and steadily made her way up.

Both the children got married. The boy is settled in USA with his wife and a son. His trips to India are random, about one in 2-3 years. His parents have never visited him. They don’t even have a valid USA visa. The girl got married too. She has a daughter.

It’s been 35 years since that blessed son was born. The father is now heart patient. He suffered a stroke followed by a paralysis attack and then failed kidneys. He has to go for dialysis regularly. The mother is fighting cancer and is undergoing Chemotherapy. She also had a mighty fall and broke her hip and thigh bone. An iron plate and rod has been inserted and she has been put on bed and has been advised no movement what so ever.

The daughter has been living with them, since the first stroke happened. She had come to take care of the father with the intention to return as soon as he recovered. It’s been 3 years ever since. In these 3 years she has taken a job transfer back to her parents town. Her daughter now goes to school there. The husband lives in another town and visits them every weekend. Her whole life revolves around her parents. The son “has not been able” to visit even once.

And still our society craves for a son. They reason – “who will take care of us when we are old and frail? The daughter will be long gone”. This is a true story. It’s happening with someone I have known for over 15 years. The desire for the son is still very strong. It doesn’t matter if we are in the 21st century already. Can we for once treat children as children? Can we for once provide them equal opportunities? I am in no way typecasting all sons in this bracket. I am just narrating a true story. Think about it… 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tales from the wedding - 1

Lots and lots happened. But of course, I can’t write them all here so let me narrate this one occasion for the sake of being narrated.

Out of all people critical for a wedding to be concluded in Northern India, Punjab, to be more specific, one very important category is that of the Eunuchs. So while you need the band walas, the mehendi walas, the cooks, the press wala, the pundits, the beauty salon lady, the guy who will put up the lights and tents, the flower wala, the photographer etc etc, the wedding cannot be treated as official commenced until the “Eunuchs” visit your home and bless the new couple.

They turn up mostly uninvited, curtsey, their impeccable network, which informs them of such occasions. And once there, they won’t depart unless paid a good hefty amount, clothes and sweets.

This is exactly what happened post the wedding. A messenger came home informing us that the Eunuchs will visit the household in the evening and that we should be prepared. I had never seen such a thing before, although vaguely aware of the concept. What followed was quite interesting. I saw my mother-in-law, asking the maid to go and inform the neighbors about the same. Some phone calls were made too.
Come evening I saw hordes of women from the neighborhood descending into our house. They were all there to see the blessings. And then the Eunuchs came all done up in this really bright and expensive attire. They came with their band of 2 musicians. Both us daughter in laws were asked to dress up and sit pretty.

What followed was quite hilarious. The Eunuchs danced and sang for close to 30 mins. Actually, if you ask me it was quite entertaining although I didn’t follow half the things they said. Post all this song and dance the newlywed girl was blessed with, guess what? Quite obvious, a son! And of course I wasn’t spared too. A son for me too!!

Post which my MIL parted with quite a hefty sum, some nice clothes and sweets! This is the tradition there. One doesn’t upset them. And no, there is no fear or irritation in giving them the money. In fact like all other wedding expense, even this is accounted for. People willingly give them what they ask for.

This is a category of people, considered to be among the lowest end of social strata, abused and cursed.  And here they were being revered as the messenger of good luck and blessings. They make their living by giving blessings and they are very sincere about it. They have accepted their misfortune and have made a livelihood out of it. One could see the desire to break ranks and live a good life glistening in their eyes and yet they performed what they were expected to with outmost honesty. Yes, it was indeed a very strange experience and very humbling too. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Adventure at Fairprice!

A rather strange thing happened yesterday at the departmental store. Aman had ventured out late in the night post dinner to pick up some essentials while I battled with some inane presentation. Trip to Fairprice (the said departmental store) is usually a post dinner affair as firstly it’s open 24 hrs and secondly it also serves as a good after dinner walk which surely my old body needs once in a while.

So yesterday the man of the house went there all by himself only to be completely stalked and then hounded by an old lady. The said lady came up to him from behind the shelves and asked him all of a sudden if he was a Jew. He isn’t and he said so, but she insisted he has to be a Jew for his eyes were so beautiful and deep and only Jews had such beautiful eyes? I mean, what kind of statement was that!!

Anyways, he denied and walked ahead. And then she came up to him again and asked if he knew who Indra Gandhi was? Of course, won’t all Indians know her? She claimed that he was related to Indra Gandhi in some way. She went one step ahead and asked Aman to inform Rahul Gandhi to play safe as his life is in danger.  That’s when it turned a little scary. And then she started talking some strange things about me as well. 

And then the lady began with her sermon on how we should both be reading the Hebrew Bible. That was the cue for Aman to really run.

So Jew, and Rahul Gandhi and Hebrew Bible?? I am so not venturing to fairprice anytime soon. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And I am now angry.

People are like mirrors. When I look at someone, I see only what I want to see. I have my pre conceived notions and I notice only those aspects which I want to see. This was true for me like when I was in my early teens or something!!! But isn’t any more. Because I have grown up and matured and to a far extent stopped being judgmental as well.

Unfortunately, you are where I left you a decade back. And I do pity you for it. Because you have no idea how childish your attitude is and how silly it makes you look. You had the making of an intelligent human being but I guess you lost out somewhere along the way.

I know you come around here reading my blog. And my thoughts rub you the wrong way.  Because, in my happiness you don’t see happiness, you see my insecurity, which by the way doesn’t exist. In my experiences you see “show-off”, in my annoyances you see “contempt”. My life really is quite happy. So please give up on being judgmental about it.

There is only one message I have for you – Grow up. I have been ignoring you for past many years, and will continue to do so after this one burst. I write this today because I feel sad for you. And truly, we were good friends once upon a time, and I thought I would do you one last favor! 

Why have I been crying?

Something really strange has been happening to me lately. Don’t know how or when, but suddenly I see myself transformed into this fat round gooey mass of emotions. It’s like I am brimming with sentiments. And even a slight nudge is enough to get me all teary eyed. It’s not that I am cold hearted otherwise. But this is stretching it a bit too far.

Like for example the other day I caught myself crying while watching Patiala House. Now, who in its sane mind would do that?? I have been crying when friends have announced pregnancies, which by the way, seems like a national phenomenon!!

Yesterday, Massi put up pictures of a recent family function on FB and I had a lump in my throat watching the family together.  And when my Dad’s and his brothers picture came up I cried some bucketful, and mind you this is when I was with dad exactly 15 days back? These are but a few examples and I am walking around with an eternal lump in my throat and dew in my eyes.
Papa (in Black), with Chachu and Bade Papa

So nostalgia is at an all time high. It looks to me like a very bad case of PMSing or a major after effect of this India trip. Which by the way rocked in more ways that I can ever list out? The bonding with Aman’s side of the family went up by a few notches, and this when I am already quite close to all of them, is quite commendable. I so feel a part of the clan. The way they have all gone out of their way to accept me is just a bit unbelievable. I have felt this all along, but now that I have completed 5 yrs of being married, I can safely say it aloud as well. Touch wood!

Coming back to the emotional bit, this song is also doing its trick. Not that I am boy or ever studied in Punjab or did most of the things the singer talks about.  So hormones acting up. Any remedies people?

Monday, January 24, 2011

To India

Come Friday and we are off to India. Our first trip home since we moved to Singapore last year and the occasion is as joyous as it can get. Its Aman’s brothers wedding. Which means there will be much family time, finger licking food, clothes, jewelry, dancing, singing and the works!

Yes, yet another Big fat Punjabi wedding. And since I am the one and only Bhabhi (sister-in-law) there is much to look forward to. I have always been a great fan of Indian traditions and I know that there are times when we will go overboard with stuff. And maybe in retrospect we will think if there was a point in all the extravagance. But as of now, I just want to go with the flow of the celebrations.

So shopping for gifts has been done for some selective set of relatives. Buying gifts for all wasn’t an option. It would have emptied our pockets and we would have ended up paying for extra baggage too. So we decided to act sane and buy gifts for some of the folks. The remaining shall be gifted on our next trip.

As for my shopping for the wedding, it’s non-existent. I obviously cannot buy Indian clothes from here. So all my shopping which is like a lot will happen in India. I have less than 24hrs in Delhi to pick up as much as I can. It would be an understatement to say I am nervous. From my past experiences it takes but a week or so of dedicated effort to get the entire ensemble ready. And here I have just a couple of days, so tell me how on earth I do it. I need nothing less than a miracle to help me sail through. And no this is no drama, and I am so hoping that the ladies out there will understand! Send some prayers my way will you??

But keeping this earth shattering problem aside, I am super duper excited. I am so looking forward to welcome a new member to Malhotra household. And obviously there are very few things in the world like a Punjabi wedding you see. And you got to attend one to know what I mean. And I get to meet my parents too who will be very much part of the wedding so that’s the added bonus. All in all, looking forward to some major fun, provided I get my clothes ready, else there will be one grumpy, irritated me and that’s no good person to deal with! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of Festivals and Families

Nostalgia is at an all time high. Its Lohri today and here I am, stuck at work with no plans whatsoever to celebrate the festival. And being in Singapore doesn’t help my cause you see.

Childhood memories come flooding back as I am trying to get some work done. The mind is refusing to concentrate. I feel myself transported to the cold winter evenings of Ranchi. Lohri each year was celebrated with as much gusto and enthusiasm. The entire family would come together to dance and sing around the bonfire. There was yummy traditional food. And sweets. Revari and Popcorns which were then generously thrown in the fire.   A feeling of happiness and festivity all around. Lots of laughter and some gossips. Traditional songs, dance and the some money imparted by elders to the ones younger to them. So not only did we have fun but we also came out richer.

Lohri for me was an occasion, like many others, when my entire family would be together. This was in fact the best part of my growing up years. The fondness my entire family had for celebrations and festivals. Right from childhood we saw all festivals being celebrated together and with a lot of heart and soul being put in it. Not just festivals but each and every occasion, like birthdays, anniversaries, New Year and even children’s day meant that the whole gang would be together, eating and having fun! And it helped that we were a lot of us in the same town. We were what can easily symbolize "the nice big fat Indian family."

And now living so far away from home, I can’t even begin to express how much I miss it. Thankfully I have the memories.

You can go here and read more about this festival -
Leaving you with the lyrics of this traditional Lohri song – Sunder munderiye hoye, tera kaun vichara hoye,dulla bhatti wala hoye,dulle di dhi wihaai hoye,sher shakar paare hoye!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here is my take on “No One Killed Jessica”

Let’s separate the two. The tragedy and the film.
The incident is something that I had followed very closely.  And like half of India I too felt cheated when the accused were let off. I too felt the rage and anger. And I too wanted the criminals to be punished. So seeing it all live on screen brought back all these emotions again. I was watching it more like a documentary or a series of how the events took place.  And yes I did end up with tears in my eyes.

Now coming to the movie – I thought it was a very mediocre affair. Vidya was good, Rani was over the top. Some characters were very good, like the cop. The movie could have been better.  And this is why I say this – Just assume that this movie wasn’t made on a real life incident. Just assume if this same movie was totally fictitious? What if there was no Jessica Lal ever killed. In that case this movie would have fallen flat.

The movie brings forward the obvious. The helplessness of the common man. The power of position and money and its misuse that’s rampant. The movie reminds one of the fact that what a barbaric society this is.   
The idea behind the movie was to portray what had happened in reality and there I think it has done a decent job. It does try and make things larger than life at some places, but then it’s a movie at the end of the day. Go watch it once.

On a separate note, I am quite happy that Shweta won Big Boss. Among all and sundry present there, she was the most decent one. She is quite gritty in her own ways. Independent, single mom, someone who said no to abuse and chucked that joker of a husband out of her life.  Think about it, it was that loud mouth Dolly who played such a crucial role in Shweta’s victory though. The whole bit about Shweta being abused and victimized by Dolly had the nation voting for her. Something similar to what happened with Shilpa Shetty. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For this had to be written

A decade has ended and another has begun. The decade that saw me leaving my teenage behind and entering my twenties, a decade where I transitioned from a student into a professional. I finished education, got a degree, started working and became financially independent. I lived in 4 cities through this time. It was during this decade that I met A, we became best friends and god knows when fell in love and then got married as well. A decade where a young girl left her hometown in pursuit of bigger things in life. To find her true self. And I think I have done pretty well on that.

This decade could easily be classified as the growth decade. A decade of personal, professional, financial and emotional growth. Of happiness and fun I never imagined existed. And of grief and feelings I wasn’t aware of. All in all, a very fulfilling time. The beautiful twenties of my life. Of Love, pleasure, travelling, living to the fullest. Of losing some friends and making some more. And of realizing which of these will stay forever.

It is never possible to say with certainty of how the time to come by will mould itself. But something that I can foresee is that this new decade will be the decade of nurturing the growth that took place previously. A solid foundation to life has been laid and ground work has been done. It’s time to set the blocks soaring.

I wish all of you a very happy new year. I wish for all of your wishes to be fulfilled and your hearts to be filled with contentment and joy. Be healthy, spend time with family, laugh out loud, spend money, travel, read. Be Good!!