Went to my Datun waali . She is not seen everyday under the bridge. She sits between the jalebi waala and the CD waala wearing a royal blue sari with a big red bindi and sindoor. She said she is there from six to nine thirty pm. Sells neem datun only at two rupees per long branch. I wonder how many people in Mumbai still use neem datun to brush their teeth. Asked her if her daughter-in-law cooks for her and she said she has four daughters only. She seemed to say that in a matter of fact way.No regrets about not having a son and no point to be proved with the daughters.They were her children and thats all.Elder daughter is married in her village. The younger three go to school. They also do wedding caterings. They serve food behind the counters wearing uniform and white gloves.
Next time I attend a wedding and say at the food counter “kam daalna”, I promise to look at their face and acknowledge the child in them.
Devika s teacher s daughter has an interesting profession. She is a criminal investigative journalist in the US and her job is secure. I am still wondering ki maa ne kis chakki ka atta khaaya hoga.
Pranaya will join the same teachers General Knowledge class. Lola Kutty does it so well on channel V General Knowledge!The mothers at the orientation had an excercise to talk to five unknown mothers in the room and say three things you love about your child. The mothers who didn t even glance at you in the room were beaming with huge smiles while talking about their child. For me, things I love about my children changed with every mother. I found so many things I loved about my children and had never acknowledged them for. I have started now…………


Today when i start writing I am wondering how Mallishka RJ on red fm speak so well. Her Hindi and her accent is so shudh . Of course when she wants it to be. She is born and brought up Mumbai. I keep disliking Bambaiyya Hindi inspite of years in Mumbai.
Then at a friend s house warming party, I met a lady who taught students Hindi and Urdu and accents and voice modulation. Sh e was from Delhi and i said oh that says it all. I asked her what made her shift to mumbai so recently. She said i moved because my daughter wanted to join movies. I almost choked on my Seven Up.
Now you might think that i just drink Seven Up at parties. Let me tell you a few home truths- I hardly attend parties. I hate seven up. I love Thums Up. Thums Up is my all time favourite drink because it brings fresh childhood memories. Movies with jhaal Muri and Thums up. I could never eat those samosas. My children dont know non ac theatre kaisa hota hai. Like they dont know how to use an Indian toilet till we visited Dhanbad for a wedding. Travelling is a big leveller.
My friend in Jharia was a bengali. She had a huge one storied makkan with eight bedrooms most of which were locked because the family preferred sleeping together on the ground floor. the Gran wore prisitine whites. the fridge could not have non veg
beacuse she was a pure vegetarian. the non veg gas and vessels were in a seperate kitchen. All her vacations were to Calcutta. So much excitement for thse trips,Maa go……..

Children and parents

We met our neighbours at the temples . They are a couple with two teenage daughters. Seeing them I am scared of our future. I keep telling hubby all that we will have to deal with when our children grow up.
Devika told them that she wants to live in a bunglow and showed them a picture of the Asian Paints exterior ad saying that was the house she wanted.
One thing I have noticed that parents with only two daughters bond very well. I think these parents are genuinely understanding and calm.
The roof of the Mahim church is flat and not sloping as churches usually have. Saw two men cleaning the terrace while I was waiting for the traffic lights to turn green.
Green is my mother in law and my mother s favourite colour. A dash of mustard is always welcome.
At the class I attended on saturday about how to teach your child at home . They said with children there is no quality time, there is only time. That is what you have to give them.

We thought about the time when the baby was yet to be born, how we wanted to give our child the best of everything. How all that got lost in routine and in providing. there was no being with the child.Nanny s diaries a film on star movies also talked about the same.

How all subjects are one and we cant integrate it. Eg Solitary Reaper by Wordsworth could help us teach the child geography. The highlands, the scotland, the lake district, the melting glaciers which caused it, the fertile land, the vegetation( there defintely not rice), the people and who did what in the fields etc etc. What an insight.
I gave birth to my child for love and not give board exams.

Amavashya at Shivaji Park

Started with Mom s call saying please give gur , ghee and atta to Brahmin as it is amavasya  new moon today.

Shivaji park Kali mandir was so festive. More than hundred people attending the Arti. Our Panditji was on the stage in front of the Goddess with all forms of Arti- diya, kapur, dhoop, shankh, cloth, water and the fan. With the beat of the dhol, he performed the arti with all the various elements in his hand. For the Shanti Jol, the air was rendered with ‘Aee Deekke’. PAnditji obliged all of us with holy water sprayed with a Gende ka phool. Devika and self had pushed our way to right near the puja. Subtle jostling with a few sorries did the trick. The younger Pandit was collecting all the coconuts in a big gunny bag. I must say that marriage has done wonders to him. He was glowing.Told me the new bride has gone to Gaon.
The chairmans  aggression on the pujaris was visible. The crowd was part Bengali and part Maharashtrian. The Bengali ladies were actually in red and white gorgeous cottons. I feel all the Bengali are innately sexy looking. Remember Rakhee in Paroma.

Dad s Nani Ghar

In this most beautiful house resided my beautiful relatives with heart of gold. 

The back of the house had a well and some place for tenants and a garage. Then there was a cow shed and rooms for cows and the Maali. Behind that was a huge kitchen garden. This had high boundary walls and a gate which was always locked. Once when the maali opened it to throw some garbage out I had seen a steam engine run train chugging along amidst wild flowers. Rest of the time I could hear the trains. On a couple of occassions my Gran had taken me by the local passenger train from Jharia to Dhanbad. The train was full of coal mine workers and vendors. It smelt of burnt coal.
 I spent lots of my weekends and vacations in this house. There was only love, care , compassion and welcome on each and every one of my visits. I just loved the morning sun streaming into the house from all windows, porticos and aangan. I can still visualise Dad s Nana ji walking with Dhoop in his hands and chanting the Durga Chalisa. His clear voice and the smell of the Dhoop made the mornings so bright and fresh.
Dad s Nani was the grand old lady who would be seated in the centre of the house in a cushioned cane chair with long grey hair drying in the sun. From her place, she was aware of all that was happening in the house, who was coming, what the sabji waala were charging, what was served to whom on the table….
I could run all around the house and not bang into anything. In the evenings the house was a place where all children from the neighbourhood came to play.

Dad s Nani Ghar

The children have a busier schedule than the mommies.  A friend came over for dinner and she said something wonderful, “Remember, You chose it. “

After that ,I could not complain about the children schools, the birthday parties, the food habits, my tiredneess, the money the schools charge,  the projects to be done for them, why mothers are not invited for a six year olds birthday parties, why children dont eat all that is cooked at home but choose what they fancy from the menu.
I had an hour to kill before I could fetch Devika from her drama class and drop her to a birthday party . Pranaya and self were ambling in the bylanes of Khar. They are so beautiful and green. Saw a Jodha Akbar poster in a flat and figured it must be the director s office. Outside the gate , there were flowers on the pavement called Champa. The tree was inside the gate and the pavement was full of these white flowers. Nostalgia filled me up when I picked up one for Pranaya.
My Dad s Nani ghar had the same tree at the entrance. Me and my Mom would always pick up the flowers and smell them. At nightfall the whole area would have the fragrance. They had a palatial house with the longest driveway I have ever seen. As soon as I d get the fragrance I knew I was in my most favourite place in the world. The fondest memories of my childhood and adolescence are attached to this house and the peple who lived there. It was in a place called Dhobatand. No there were no dhobies there. The front lawn was surrounded  by mehndi bushes.
The portico had lot of flowering creepers surrounding it. The house was a broad U shaped open on three sides with a huge aangan in the centre. In the right of the aangan s main gate there was a tulsi kyara. Again we had rose bushes edging the whole aangan. Jute charpais which we called khatiya were there for visitors. they had four rooms which worked as kitchen and store rooms and one room was called chaas waala kamra where only milk, curds, butter and chhaas was stored. One room the servants cooked and one kitchen for the ladies of the house. The washing area was outside. One for the clothes, one for the vessels and one for the servants to wash their feet before they entered the house.
All the rooms opened into a huge corridor with large  almost french windows. Curtains were put in winters and summers the windows had jute blinds. I was allowed to water the blinds in summers to keep the house cool.
This was the first house and the only house where I got to sleep on pristine white bed sheets. In the nights when the beds were made ,all slept on pure white sheets. In the ‘no -washing machine, days how they managed it is a mystery to me.

Happy Valentine s Day once again

How do writers write everyday? Can  Money make you  write everyday?

 Valentine s day was a friends class at Shiamak. J and me danced together for one hour. That was a first in our lives. 
I have been going for Shiamak Dawar dance classes since Pranaya turned three months. How after a child is born the parent starts relating all important dates with the child s age. It is one hour class twice a week. I opted for the weekend batch so J is with children when I go for the class. There has always been a fear to say I am learning to dance.When someone asks what dance am i learning, I always say that they make us excercise for half an hour and then teach a few steps. Actually we learn different styles Salsa, Rock n Roll, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Afro Jazz, Bhangra and my ever favourite Bollywood. Par yeh bolne mein sharam aati hai.
Like once J had visited a village in UP on work. When a friend asked about him I promptly said he has gone to Bulanshahar but will be staying at Delhi for the night. He said there is nothing wrong even if he stays in Bulandshahar!
So Shiamak s class had Devika Pranaya all dressed in workout clothes along with sweatbands sitting and observing us. My Mom at sixty plus was rocking away to Pardesi girl. My sis is the one who inspired me to take on dancing was also a part of the coterie. Then we had my baby Satya and my friend Lisa who is three months pregnant. Satya was the cool dude of the class. It was fun to watch him doing some mean hip shakes. Satya is someone who is always there for me. Someone I feel I have nurtured. It is so joyful to watch him transform from a sapling to a tree. Saari mehnat uski, saara credit mein lena chahti hoon.
Lisa is an American and was watching how we learn all this Bollywood dancing. What i realised is that she is quite good at it. Devika Pranaya had given her enough practise when she was staying at our place.
And we all danced on Dil Mera Hit Hit…..Soniye
Mil  hi jaayega kahin
 dil ko yakeen rehta  hai
woh issi shehar ki galiyon mein 
 kahin rehta hai